After playing a career-high 34:50 and blocking seven shots in a 1-0 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night at the Garden, Dan Girardi was going to appreciate the extra hour of sleep with the clocks being turned back.
On the other hand, Girardi might have had nightmares about the Rangers' depleted defense, now missing four regulars.
"I think maybe the four days we had between games might have helped," Girardi said after the Rangers played about 21/2 periods plus overtime without two of their top defensemen, captain Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein, who did not return after being injured. "If it's a back-to-back, it might've been a different story. We just have to get some more rest now."
McDonagh suffered a separated left shoulder when Evander Kane -- who scored the game-decider in the shootout's fourth round -- nailed him into the end boards at 11:41 of the first period.
That injury appears to be worse than Klein's. He suffered a foot contusion after being hit by a shot earlier in the period.
"They'll both get MRIs [on Sunday] and we'll know more then," Alain Vigneault said.
The injuries -- along with the absence of John Moore, who served the first game of his five-game suspension, and Dan Boyle, who broke his hand in the opener on Oct. 9 and began skating only last week -- make it likely that the Rangers will need to call up at least one defenseman, possibly Conor Allen, from Hartford before Monday night's game against St. Louis. With 14 more games in November, if McDonagh is out for an extended time, the Rangers might be in the market for another blueliner.
Last April 1, McDonagh suffered a separated left shoulder on a hit into the glass from Alex Burrows. He didn't need surgery and missed only the final five games of the regular season.
Said Marc Staal, who logged 29:33: "We're going to have to rally around him [McDonagh], not only as defensemen but as a team, make sure we have a concerted effort as a group, play more solid in our own end. You can't replace a guy like that."
Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 25 shots through overtime, was beaten by Kane and Blake Wheeler in the shootout. Mats Zuccarello scored the lone shootout goal for the Rangers. Ondrej Pavelec stopped Rick Nash, Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis, who also was denied on a breakaway in overtime.
It was the second consecutive game that the Rangers played without a full team. Against the Wild last Monday, Moore and Chris Kreider were ejected for major penalties. But the Rangers rallied for five goals in the third period to erase a 3-0 deficit and beat the Wild, 5-4.
Even with the effort by the shorthanded defense, which blocked 20 shots, and despite firing 38 shots at Pavelec, the Rangers (5-4-1) couldn't manage more than a point against the Jets, who were wrapping up a road trip.
The Rangers couldn't connect on five power plays and are 2-for-28 this season. "It needs to produce," Vigneault said. "We're getting some looks. We're trying different personnel, but it's one area we need to get results. Tonight it had the opportunity to win us the game and couldn't get it done."
Defensemen Matt Hunwick, who made the team as a seventh defenseman and logged 27:58, and Michael Kostka, who played 21:56 after seeing action in only one previous game this season, could not be faulted. "Those guys played extremely well," Vigneault said. "They played their best and gave us a chance."
"We played a really strong game. We played with poise," Lundqvist said. "It's tough when you don't get two points in a game like this."
And tougher still when the defense needs reinforcements.