The Rangers lost one of their hottest players late in the first period Saturday night.
Colin Blackwell, who had entered the day with a point in three straight games since being recalled from the taxi squad earlier in the week, suffered an upper-body injury midway through the first period and did not return for the rest of the Rangers’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins.
“I didn’t see it,” coach David Quinn said after the game. “Still evaluating, we’re not sure right now what his status is.”
Blackwell, who was denied another goal on a good chance early in the first period, did not play the final 9:13 of the period after going to the room.
Kaapo Kakko was bumped up to take shifts on the second line in Blackwell’s spot at right wing, next to Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, before the lines were later jumbled.
The Rangers rolled out their new power-play units for the second straight game and after generating plenty of chances through their first three opportunities Saturday finally converted on the man advantage to snap an 0-for-8 drought over their past three games.
The new first unit, with defensemen Adam Fox and Tony DeAngelo joining Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich, was on the ice for Panarin’s go-ahead power-play goal late in the second period.
The second unit of Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere, Strome and Kakko also got more work than they did in their first game together Thursday as the Rangers finished Saturday 1-for-5 on the power play.
“I think both units give you a little bit of a different look,” Quinn said. “It’s a small sample size, but we just think both units, we kind of needed to shake things up.”
Defenseman Jack Johnson missed his second straight game with a groin strain, with Brendan Smith continuing to fill his spot next to DeAngelo. Smith was benched for the entire third period after being on the ice for each of the Penguins’ first three goals. “Just a decision we made with Smitty,” Quinn said.
Kevin Rooney scored his first goal as a Ranger on a shorthanded strike to tie the game at two in the second period. Rooney and K’Andre Miller got loose for a 2-on-0, with Miller delivering a perfect pass on the give-and-go for Rooney to finish off.
Rooney now has 11 career goals, four of them shorthanded.