New York Rangers lineup remains without Kaapo Kakko, plus Ryan Strome game-time decision

new york rangers lineup
Apr 18, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) celebrates his goal with center Mika Zibanejad (93) in front of New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (76) during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers lineup may be getting some reinforcements by the way of Ryan Strome, who took a full practice.

Unlike Sunday’s skate, Strome was back in his familiar spot on the second line flanked by Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp. He has missed four games since going down with a lower-body injury at the end of the first period last Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.

“He’ll be a game-time decision,” head coach Gerard Gallant said via team’s YouTube channel. “But he looked pretty good out there (today). Once the trainers give me the okay, he’s in.”

Strome, 28, has 45 points (15G -30A) through 62 games this season for the Blueshirts. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney remain out

kaapo kakko
Nov 7, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) comes out onto the ice before the start of the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Kaapo Kakko has missed 33 games and it looks like that number will continue to grow. He last played on January 21 against the Carolina Hurricanes and was placed on IR the next day with an upper-body injury that is believed to be a wrist issue.

Another Blueshirt, Kevin Rooney has also been out of action since suffering an upper-body injury since March 2.

“They’re coming close,” Gallant said last Friday. “They’re not ready this week obviously. The next two games for sure not, but after that there’s possibilities.”

Apparently those possibilities seem to be further out as neither of them have yet to partake in a practice, but are skating on their own.

“They’re skating and they’re real close,” Gallant updated on both Kakko and Rooney. “The doctor’s control that– not me. I was hoping to have them back two weeks ago. We’ll be patient and make sure they’re ready.”

New York Rangers lineup notes versus Devils

Although Gerard Gallant did not confirm his starting goalie, he left enough of a clue to indicate that Igor Shesterkin would be back in between the pipes.

“We want to win hockey games… you want to get guys going but also give guys a break,” Gallant explained. “Plus you guys are too hard on us when we lose so I’ve got to get the best lineup in.”

Per multiple reports, it appears that Ryan Reaves and Greg McKegg will be scratched as they did not practice. The fourth line also does not appear set with Tyler Motte (the likely given) playing with Jonny Brodzinski, Julien Gauthier, and Dryden Hunt.

There is also the possibility that Braden Schneider could get back into the lineup on the third pair defense. Most likely Justin Braun would sit.

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