GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will miss at least three weeks with a vascular injury he suffered last Saturday, the team announced Friday afternoon.
Lundqvist, who was hit in the throat by a deflected shot in a win over the Hurricanes after Ryan McDonagh's stick accidentally lifted his mask and exposed his neck, had reported breathing difficulties, headaches and light-headedness. The team said in a release that Lundqvist will be re-evaluated after the three-week period. The Rangers later told Newsday he has not yet been placed on injured reserve.
Lundqvist did not travel with the team to Nashville for Saturday's game against the Predators, coach Alain Vigneault said, adding that he would speculate no further about his goalie's future.
Despite the injury, Lundqvist remained in Saturday's game and played Monday in a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers, making 33 saves. He missed Wednesday's game against the Boston Bruins, giving way to backup Cam Talbot.
Vigneault sidestepped the questions of whether Lundqvist should have played Monday. He said Talbot will play Saturday but refused to comment beyond that.
"I've talked to him solely about Saturday," he said. "We knew the night before Boston that he was playing . . . He knows he's playing against Nashville and that's his sole focus right now . . . If you want to go beyond Saturday, I'm not even going to touch beyond Saturday."
The Rangers return home to play the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
Talbot has played in 12 games this season, including eight starts, with a 2.14 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. With his start in Nashville, he'll be slated to play back-to-back games for the third time this season.
"I'm hoping it might be a little bit easier than being there only one game every one or two weeks,'' Talbot said, "but it's a different mind-set, I think, going in there knowing that I might get a couple games in here in a row. You never want to see a teammate go down, one of your best players and a guy that your team needs night in and night out. Right now, I'm just going in there and trying to focus on not missing a beat."
Though the Rangers do have another goalie on the roster -- Mackenzie Skapski was recalled from their Hartford affiliate -- the brunt of the workload will fall on Talbot.
Vigneault would not comment on whether the Rangers will be in the market for another backup with the trade deadline looming, saying only: "We're in the market right now to win Saturday's game."
The Rangers have a veteran backup in Hartford, Yann Danis, 33, who has seen time with the Oilers, Islanders and Devils. Danis is 4-2 with a 2.64 GAA and .917 save percentage for Hartford.
If Lundqvist is placed on injured reserve, it will give the Rangers $1.5 million to $2 million of cap relief, something they could use to acquire a two-way center or a spare defenseman.
Including their game against the Predators, the Rangers will play 12 games in the next three weeks.
With Steve Zipay