New York Rangers' Jimmy Vesey week-to-week after Game 2 hit

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey is out and has been classified as week-to-week with an upper-body injury, coach Peter Laviolette said on Saturday.

Vesey took a thundering hit from Florida Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg in the second period of Game 2 of the Rangers' Eastern Conference Final series Friday. He did not return for the third period, and Laviolette said after the game that Vesey was being evaluated further.

New York took Game 2 with a 2-1 overtime victory to even the series, 1-1.

Vesey has been a reliable part of the Rangers' bottom six throughout the postseason, producing one goal and three points in 12 games. He did make the trip with New York to Florida despite not projecting to be an option there for Game 3 or Game 4.

Laviolette did not specify on Saturday who would replace Vesey for New York. But the Rangers coach was confident the club's depth would shine through.

"Without getting into the lineup [for Sunday], when you go through the whole [playoffs], it's a long grind," Laviolette said. "Things pop up like they did last night, and you need a lot of players available. We have a lot of guys that are ready to jump back in the lineup and that's a good thing for us. We were getting healthy. Took a little bit of a hit last night, but it's nice to have players that are ready to go."

One option for New York could be sliding Blake Wheeler back in. The veteran hasn't played since suffering a leg injury in February. He took warmups with the Rangers ahead of Game 2 before being scratched. Laviolette said on Saturday putting Wheeler back in would go beyond just having medical clearance to do so, but also the assurance he's ready to compete at the most critical time of year.

"He's cleared to do everything," Laviolette said. "[But] everybody, when they come back from a substantial injury, at some point, they're cleared, but there's parts where they have to make sure their game is there, as well, based on what they might have been dealing with. Through the process of getting a player back ... it's getting your game back up to speed. Blake is cleared for contact, we're trying to make sure he's up to speed. He's working at it."

Game 3 is at 3 p.m. on Sunday.