TAMPA, Fla. — The Rangers went the majority of their Game 3 loss to the Lightning on Sunday afternoon without second-line center Ryan Strome, who was crosschecked to the lower back by the winger. Lightning Ondrej Palat at the start of the second period.
Strome returned later in the period for just one shift, but the 28-year-old eventually retired to the Rangers dressing room and stayed there with what the team said was a lower-body injury. Strome finished with two shots on goal, two blocks and a hit in 7:22 of ice time.
“He came back for a shift and wasn’t good enough,” head coach Gerard Gallant said after the 3-2 loss at Amalie Arena, which gave Tampa Bay its first Finals series win. of the Eastern Conference. “We will know more tomorrow.”
Barclay Goodrow replaced Strome on the second row between Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp, while Filip Chytil took his place on the first unit on the power play.
Rangers also lost Goodrow briefly in the third period to go down to 10 forwards. After blocking a slap shot from Victor Hedman, Goodrow was slow to get up and immediately went to the locker room, but returned soon after and finished the game.
“Stromer is a big hunk,” Andrew Copp said. “Obviously, playing in the middle, he’s on the first power play, takes right hand draws. He got pretty good at it. It’s a huge loss. Everyone has to somehow intervene. Hopefully he won’t be gone too long.
“Losing Goody I mean what a blocked shot after coming back from what he’s already been through there. The outcome of the game is what it is but when you have people like that you can always win It’s good to have it back.
If Strome is unavailable for Game 4 on Tuesday or so, expect Kevin Rooney to return to the Rangers lineup. Rooney, who hasn’t played since Game 5 of the Rangers’ second-round series against the Hurricanes, is also a center who can contribute on the penalty kill.
Strome has played in every Rangers playoff game so far on this streak, tallying two goals and seven assists in 17 games.
“It hurt our offense, obviously,” Gallant said of Strome’s loss. “He didn’t play the last half of the game, so when he plays seven minutes it hurts your team.”
Cal Foote was removed for the Lightning in favor of Riley Nash. Tampa Bay went with the traditional 12 forwards and six defensemen for the first time in this series. Steven Stamkos moved to the center of the front row between Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.