Artemi Panarin, Jimmy Vesey questionable for Rangers against Devils on Thursday

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers could be without two of their top forwards Thursday when they visit the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Artemi Panarin and Jimmy Vesey are each day to day with lower-body injuries. Neither practiced Wednesday at the MSG Training Center.

“We’ll see tomorrow,” coach Peter Laviolette answered about their availability. “Right now, they’re day to day.”

Panarin and Vesey both played in New York’s 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday at The Garden and each finished the game. Panarin, who had an assist, blocked a shot earlier in the game, which could be the cause of him missing practice. He played 19:55 and had two shots on goal against the Stars, after scoring the overtime winner outdoors in the Stadium Series on Sunday against the Islanders.

The 32-year-old leads the Rangers and is tied for fifth in the NHL with 75 points (32 goals, 43 assists) in 56 games.

Vesey logged 14:05 in ice time Tuesday and had one shot on goal. He played seven shifts in the third period and didn’t appear in distress, though he also had a blocked shot in the game.

A fourth-line stalwart all season, Vesey skated the past two games on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Vesey took the place of Blake Wheeler on the top line after the veteran forward sustained a season-ending lower-body injury last week.

Related: Why Rangers reportedly targeted Alex Wennberg ahead of trade deadline

Artemi Panarin, Jimmy Vesey day to day for Rangers with lower-body injuries

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Kaapo Kakko, who scored his seventh goal Wednesday, moved up from the third line to practice with Zibanejad and Kreider. Kakko has points in each of his past five games (two goals, three assists), including an assist on Erik Gustaffson’s first-period goal at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

The Rangers are carrying one extra forward presently, Alex Belzile, who has yet to play an NHL game this season. The 32-year-old has 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) in 43 games with Hartford of the American Hockey League.

They also have one extra defenseman, Zac Jones. If neither Panarin nor Vesey can play against the Devils, the Rangers could dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen if they don’t recall another player.

Coach Peter Laviolette gave no indication after practice if he expects Panarin and/or Vesey to be available.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

Mentioned in this article:

More About: