WASHINGTON (AP) — Locked into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers rested six banged-up players for their game Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals.
Forward Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash and Jesper Fast and defensemen Ryan McDonagh, Brady Skjei and Nick Holden were out with various minor injuries. Coach Alain Vigneault had previously ruled out Zuccarello, Nash, Fast and McDonagh and added Skjei and Holden to his scratches about two hours before puck drop.
“Everyone felt that Nick and Brady both had some minor bumps and bruises, so a little extra time off would not hurt them,” Vigneault said. “If our situation was where we needed the points, those guys would be playing right now. But nothing’s going to change for us, so we can give a little bit more ice time to some guys that haven’t played in a while and we can make sure those (injured) guys are 100 percent come playoff time.”
New York will open the playoffs next week against the Atlantic Division-champion Montreal Canadiens. Vigneault said the Rangers’ focus would remain on their final…