NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Come in off the ledge, Rangers fans. It appears your stud defenseman will be just fine.
With the Blueshirts on the verge of clinching a playoff berth, wounded Ryan McDonagh assured everyone on Thursday night that he will in all likelihood be on the ice when the playoffs begin, assuming his teammates can scratch out two more points over the final four games of the regular season.
“I’m pretty confident that I will be (back before the playoffs),” McDonagh told reporters during the first intermission in Colorado, where the Rangers lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Avalanche. “That’s my goal.”
McDonagh, who is enjoying the finest season of his four-year career and has been mentioned as a possible Norris Trophy finalist, said there is “nothing structurally damaged” in his “sore” shoulder and said once he has “full range of motion,” he’s playing.
“I don’t care if we’ve clinched or not. Timing-wise, it’s going to be a lot different at the next stage we’re hopefully going to be at. So I want to get back out there,” McDonagh said.
The big defenseman was injured during the final minute of New York’s 3-1 win in Vancouver on Tuesday when the Canucks’ Alexandre Burrows leveled him from behind up against the glass.
McDonagh went down in a heap and eventually left the game, and the fear factor back east quickly went into overdrive.
“My intention wasn’t to be dirty or hurt the guy. I just wanted to forecheck and retrieve the puck,” Burrows said.
Burrows received a major penalty and a game misconduct, but was not disciplined further by the NHL.
However, he was apparently given a talking-to by Rangers fans, who, according to Vancouver media, blasted the Canucks forward repeatedly on Twitter.
John Moore replaced McDonagh in the lineup Thursday night and scored a goal.
The Rangers will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
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