GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Wayne Simmonds got off with just an ejection, not a suspension, for his punch that KO’d Ryan McDonagh Saturday in Philadelphia. It left the Rangers captain with a concussion and the team without its All-Star defenseman for who knows how long.
So this isn’t over between the Rangers and the Flyers’ physical forward.
The Rangers have the Penguins in Pittsburgh Wednesday night and the Kings at the Garden Friday night before a home rematch against Philadelphia. It could be Sunday night at the fights.
Simmonds can handle himself well, but left wing Tanner Glass strongly indicated he wants to stick up for a fallen teammate and send a crystal-clear message.
“You’ve got to think team first; you’re not taking a penalty,” Glass said after Tuesday’s practice at the MSG Training Center. “Then you’ve just got to let him know it’s not going to be tolerated . . . He’ll know.
“He’s a dangerous player . . . He hacks and slashes. He’s been in enough altercations to know that it’s coming. It’s hockey. Everyone knows.
“I know what I’m doing,” Glass added. “The older you get, the more fights you’re in, the more you become comfortable with it, I think for me anyway.”
McDonagh will sit out his second straight game, and winger Rick Nash will sit out his seventh with a bone bruise in his left leg. Coach Alain Vigneault said Nash is walking almost without pain, but that he will sit out Friday against Los Angeles, too.
The two will miss a tough road test. The Penguins have won six of seven and sit in third in the Metro, four points back of the second-place Rangers.
“They’re an elite team with elite players,” Vigneault said.
Evgeni Malkin is injured, but Sidney Crosby has scored in a career-high seven consecutive games and owns 24 goals and 29 assists. The center has 12 points over the last four games.
“You need all five guys on the ice playing together, being aware of where he is and taking away his time and space,” defenseman Marc Staal said.
The Rangers have won three straight for the first time since November and six of eight.
“I think our effort, our compete level, has been higher consistently, and with that usually comes good defensive play,” Staal said.
The power play, however, is on a 2-for-49 skid.
“We just need one goal,” center Derick Brassard said. “I think it’s going to help our confidence.”
Still, they’re in a good place emotionally overall.
“We’re having fun,” Brassard said. “When you come to work every day and come to practice and come to games and when you’re winning, it’s a lot more enjoyable to be around the guys and to be here.”