The Red Wings will be without Niklas Kronwall for at least one week, but he could be sidelined for as long as three weeks following a knee sprain suffered in a big overtime victory over the Rangers.
The Red Wings came up with a huge 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon, but the victory appears to have come at a price: Detroit will be without defenseman Niklas Kronwall for at least a week, and it could be longer than that.
During the second period of the Red Wings’ win, Kronwall, 35, appeared to tweak his knee during a scramble in front of the Detroit net. As the puck came in, Kronwall left leg got tangled under goaltender Petr Mrazek and his right leg was run into by a falling Andreas Athanasiou. Kronwall then fell backwards and immediately appeared in pain, and he had to be helped off the ice by teammates:
Kronwall did not return to the contest and Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill had no update on the veteran defenseman post-game. Ahead of Sunday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, Detroit GM Ken Holland announced that Kronwall underwent an MRI on his right knee and it showed a sprain that could keep him out of the lineup anywhere from one to three weeks, per MLive.com's Ansar Khan.
If Kronwall is out for the full three-week time frame, he could miss in the neighborhood of a dozen games. Should Kronwall be out that long, it will also mean he misses almost the entirety of the Red Wings’ remaining games. Detroit currently has 14 games remaining in the campaign.
This is the second time this season Kronwall has gone on the shelf with a knee injury, but this turn on the injured list comes at the worst possible time for Detroit. The Red Wings are trying to keep their 24-year playoff streak alive and reach the quarter-century mark, but they’re having to do so while fending off the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, both of whom have continued to pile up points.
Kronwall’s play has been up and down throughout the season, but he’s still a key part of the Red Wings blueline. He’s averaging the highest ice time of all players in Detroit — 22:28 per game this season — and only Mike Green has managed more points among Red Wings defensemen than Kronwall’s three goals and 20 points. And while Detroit isn’t necessarily blowing anyone away with their special teams play, Kronwall is a key fixture of both the top power play unit and takes a regular penalty killing shift. He won’t be easy to replace at such an important time in the season.