Rangers finally whole again as Ryan Lindgren returns from injury

Rangers finally whole again as Ryan Lindgren returns from injury


April 4, 2023 | 2:50 in the afternoon

The Rangers will be full again for Wednesday night’s Garden game against the Lightning with Ryan Lindgren returning to Adam Fox’s left wing.

“He’s a little bit of an engine for our team,” Vincent Trocheck told The Post after Tuesday’s practice. “It puts us in the frame of mind to be ready to go into battle and defeat it.”

Lindgren has missed 17 of the Blues’ last 18 games with a left shoulder injury suffered in the first period of the Feb. 25 game at Washington.

No. 55 lost 11 straight before a one-game comeback against Carolina on March 21 in which he re-aggravated the injury.

He has been in civilian clothes for the last six games.

“I was anxious to get back, but I also wanted to be safe this close to the playoffs,” Lindgren told The Post. “I was able to play in that game against Carolina, but not the style I wanted, so it took a while to get to this point.

“It sucks to be out, and obviously for so long, but I’m glad I did it.”

Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren is returning for Wednesday’s game against the Lightning. Robert Sabo for the NY Post

The Rangers went 12-3-2 in Lindgren’s absence, but there’s no denying the value of Lindgren’s effort.

It makes Fox a better and more confident player.

His return creates a deeper back six, with Niko Mikkola moving from the match unit with Fox to the third pairing with Schneider.

Round pins in round holes.

“We probably held it a little longer [than necessary] but you know what, you want to make sure,” said coach Gerard Gallant, who added that No. 55 would not be without limitations. “We’re going to play it like, ‘Good to go, good to go.’

“No one has told us otherwise. The child worked hard for a week. We hope things go well. Injuries can happen to any player at any time, but you hope that everything is fine. He works hard and plays hard. He feels 100 percent ready to go.”

Ryan Lindgren left the Rangers’ game against the Capitals on February 25 with a shoulder injury. USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers started the day three points behind New Jersey for second place before the Devils meet the Penguins at the Rock on Tuesday night.

Securing home ice for the first round would be an advantage, but preparing for the playoffs has seemed the priority since clinching a spot last Monday.

To that end, Lindgren’s return to action against the Tampa Bay club that ended the Blues’ dream late last May and remains a formidable contender is a step in the right direction.

“His addition to our lineup makes a huge difference to our team,” Gallant said. “I think he adds a lot to the group. He’s a competitive guy as we all know, the way he plays the game, penalty shots is huge for us, defensive situations, he’s huge for us.

“And having said that, he’s also a good attacking player. He moves the ball very well. He works hard every shift. We all saw how he played in the playoffs last year and that’s what gets you excited about him.”

Ryan Lindgren has lost 17 of the Rangers’ last 18 games. Getty Images

The K’Andre Miller-Jacob Trouba duo has gone 14 games since No. 79 served his three-game suspension for spitting on Drew Doughty on Feb. 26.

Indeed, the group has been tied for 16 goals for and six against (72.7 percent) during that span.

The pair had been under water before, with 32 in favor and 48 against (40 percent).

The Lindgren-Fox duo has the third-highest goals-for-percentage at 62.12 (41 for, 25 against) among NHL groups with at least 750:00 in five-on-five.

The return of Lindgren, coupled with the resurgence of Miller-Trouba, provides the Rangers with a pair of duos that can share the responsibility against the opposition’s top six.

“I’ve had a long time off, so I’m definitely well rested,” Lindgren said. “I’ll be fresher, but maybe even more rusty at first.

“It took me a while to get into it when I came back against Carolina, so I’m looking forward to these games coming up and getting ready for the playoffs. I’m very happy to be back.”

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