As per insiders, Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp returned to training Sunday after being sidelined by injuries in the Rangers’ final regular-season matchup with Carolina, where they had both been playing. All along, head coach Gerard Gallant insisted that the two would be ready in time for the Rangers’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
Taking them out of the final two regular-season games was a precautionary measure. According to Panarin, who appeared especially carefree during practice at the MSG Training Center, “I feel the best I’ve had all year, I’m ready to go.”
“I think it was pretty much like if you felt anything that we weren’t going to continue on,” the trade-deadline acquisition said. This wasn’t a serious injury by any means, but it felt like it was time to take a few days off before the start of the first game. “Panarin and Copp were reunited on the second line with Ryan Strome for Sunday’s practice.
Copp said he had received “a good amount of treatment” over the course of the last week. “It’s always a drag to watch. If there was ever a time to keep an eye on something, it would be under those conditions. Getting the itch to get back on the ice and into the competition and get going again. This time of year, in particular, is always a thrill ride. Just a little bit chomping at the bit.
Ryan Lindgren appeared to be injured at the end of Friday’s regular-season finale, so Sunday’s practice was canceled for “maintenance” reasons. A day off would make sense for the Rangers, since they have two practice days each week. It is expected that Lindgren will return to practice on Monday.