New York Rangers forward Blake Wheeler leaves game with lower-body injury, will not return

      Wheeler was injured after an awkward collision on Thursday night.

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      One of the veterans on Broadway was in a great bit of distress on Thursday night.

      In the first period of game between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, Rangers forward Blake Wheeler fell awkwardly to the ice after getting hit along the boards by Canadiens defenseman Jayden Struble.

      Wheeler looked to have injured his right leg, and possibly his ankle. He was in immediate pain, and had to be helped off the ice by teammates Chris Kreider and Vincent Trochek. He was placed on a chair just inside the Zamboni tunnel, where medical staff treated him.

      In order to transport the former Winnipeg Jets captain from the Zamboni tunnel to the Rangers locker room, Wheeler was placed on a stretcher.

      It was not too long after that it was determined that he was not going to return to the game.

      The extent of Wheeler’s injury, or injuries, will be revealed in the coming days.

      This is the first time the 37-year-old has been banged up as a member of the Rangers. Wheeler signed a one-year deal with the Blueshirts, with an AAV of $1.1 million, after spending 12-plus seasons with the Jets. In 53 games this season, he has scored nine goals and 12 assists, placing him eighth on the team in scoring.

      Wheeler had to missed a number of games in his final season in Winnipeg with a ruptured testicle, but has not missed any extended time since, having played every game so far with the Rangers.

      In 1,171 career games, that also included an early stop with the Boston Bruins, Wheeler has scored 321 goals and 622 assists, 67 short of reaching the 1,000-point mark. In 65 playoff games, most with the Jets, the Plymouth, Minnesota native has scored 45 points.

      Prior to the conclusion of their game against the Habs, the Rangers (34-16-3) are first in the Metropolitan Division, six points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. They are also three points back of the Boston Bruins for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

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