ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ryan Lindgren has lined up alongside Adam Fox in 249 of the 266 NHL games he’s played in his career.
Though their defensive tandem dates back to their teenage days with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
Though the Rangers as a team will have to adjust to life without Fox, their No. 1 defenseman, who will miss a minimum of 10 games while on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury, no one will feel the cascading effects more than Lindgren.
“I’ve been playing with Foxy pretty much the whole time I’ve been here,” Lindgren told The Post before the Rangers lost to the Wild, 5-4 in a shootout, on Saturday night. “That’s what I think is good about preseason. You see us splitting up or them trying different things for moments like this. I don’t know if I played any games with [Erik Gustafsson], but I think it’ll be a good adjustment. I’ve seen him play, had some shifts with him out there a couple of times.”
Despite not taking any exhibition game reps with Gustafsson, Lindgren lined up next to the Swedish defenseman Saturday night.
The Minnesota native has already recognized his tendencies to jump up in the rush and how gifted he is offensively — typified by his first-period goal, one of three for the Rangers in the period.
The biggest thing, Lindgren said, will be for the two to just communicate.
Aside from all the games he’s played next to Fox since his recall in October 2019, Lindgren has lined up next to Jacob Trouba five times, Braden Schneider three times, Zac Jones three times and Libor Hajek once.
With Lindgren skating next to Gustafsson, the K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba pair remained intact.
As a result, Zac Jones was back on the bottom pair alongside Braden Schneider.
“We’re really trying to make as little moves as possible,” Laviolette said of rearranging the D pairs. “I think Gus has handled that situation, Lindy is a guy we count on to play big minutes and shut down teams. Foxy has done a great job with him. But there has to be some moves made because of what happened last game. Gus is an experienced defenseman. He can skate, he can defend, he can make good plays coming out of our end.
“So this is a starting point for them. We’re trying to not move things a lot, not shake things up a lot and this is where it sits.”
Blake Wheeler notched his first point as a Ranger with an assist on Gustafsson’s score to make it 3-0 in the first period.
Without Fox and Filip Chytil, two power-play contributors, the Rangers had a bit of a different look for their man-advantage units Saturday.
Gustafsson replaced Fox on the top power-play unit with Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin. On PP2, K’Andre Miller and recent call-up Jonny Brodzinski joined Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Wheeler.
But there were few power-play minutes to go around, as the Rangers came up blank on their only chance.
“He had a really good training camp,” Laviolette said of Brodzinski. “He was noticeable with his speed and his puck possession and what he was able to generate and create. Really upbeat, positive guy, is off to a tremendous start in Hartford. He was a clear-cut name that got talked about when we were talking about replacing a centerman. He’s been a really good player down there and so we’re just going to bring him up, set him right into it and give him an opportunity.
“He’s a right-hand shot and it’s a chance to help out a power-play unit. We’re going to see what he can do there, as well.”
This story originally appeared on NYPost