Leetch Injured In Ranger Win


The news is even bad when the New York Rangers win.

The Rangers stopped a three-game losing streak, but lost defenseman Brian Leetch for at least four weeks with a broken right forearm in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night.

Leetch was hurt in the first period when he blocked a shot by Tampa Bay's Fredrik Modin. He is expected to undergo further examination Friday in New York. Among the possible options, according to Leetch, are inserting a plate and pins or casting the injury.

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Game summary

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  • "You feel like you let your teammates and coaches down," said Leetch, who had his injured arm in a cast and sling after the game.

    "We'll miss him terribly, no question. He's our best player," Rangers coach John Muckler said. " Other people have to pick it up. There's just no other way of doing it. You don't replace Brian Leetch."

    Leetch wanted to return in the second period, but all that changed after X-rays indicated the break.

    "It would get to where it would stop hurting for a little bit, but as soon as you made a move, it would hurt again," Leetch said.

    Rangers defenseman Stephane Quintal (head) and center Tim Taylor (ribs) were also hurt and may miss Friday's game at Florida.

    New York's John MacLean had two assists and became the 102nd player to reach 800 points.

    Rangers rookie Michael York had a goal, extending his point streak to seven games. Theoren Fleury picked up an ssist and has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) during a nine-game scoring streak.

    Kevin Stevens, Mike Knuble, Mathieu Schneider, Petr Nedved and Alexandre Daigle had the other New York goals.

    Chris Gratton, Ben Clymer and Modin scored for the Lightning, who saw their five-game home winning streak end.

    "We have to start to find a way that we don't get all pumped up for one game and the next game we just go out there and think it's going to be a walk in the park," Tampa Bay defenseman Petr Svoboda said. "It won't happen in this league."

    The Rangers led 2-1 after an entertaining first period that saw the teams hit the goal post five times.

    Stevens, who was scratched in the Rangers' last game on Saturday, snapped a 12-game goal-scoring drought early in the opening period.

    After Gratton tied the game at 1-1, Knuble put the Rangers ahead with a nifty deflection of a Nedved shot with 62 seconds left in the first period.

    Goals by Schneider and York put the Rangers up 4-2 after two periods. Nedved and Daigle, who also had an assist, added third period goals.

    Daigle, who was traded by Tampa Bay to the Rangers on Oct. 3, has a goal and three assists in two games since being recalled from Hartford of the AHL.

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