Justin Braun is active for his second Rangers game since trading

Justin Braun was skating in his second game with the Rangers Sunday night as his former team, the Flyers, came to the Garden for the first time since the organization sold the veteran defenseman to New York.

After making his Rangers debut on March 22 against the Devils, Braun was a healthy scratch for the next five games. Braden Schneider had seemingly kept his spot on the right side of the third pair of defenses with Patrik Nemeth, but the rookie had a tough game against the Isles on Friday – in which he was down from three – and was scratched against the Flyers on Sunday.

“I want to win,” said head coach Gerard Gallant when asked if he decided to play Braun because it’s his former team. “Give [Braun] a chance to play. He played a game.”

Braun recorded two shots on target in 11:24 Ice Time in the 4-3 penalty shootout loss.

Justin Braun runs with the puck during the Rangers shootout against the Flyers.
Justin Braun runs with the puck during the Rangers shootout against the Flyers.
NHLI via Getty Images

The plan has always been to bring Braun back into the Rangers lineup at some point. President and general manager Chris Drury gave up a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL draft in favor of Braun, who not only played top pair minutes in Philadelphia but was battling for a spot in the bottom duo.

With 100 playoff games under his belt, Braun is an experienced addition to the Rangers backend who can add some depth to the team in the postseason.

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“Veteran,” Gallant said. “I trained against him when he was in San Jose, when I was in Vegas, played against him a lot. Solid defender, defensive defender, moves the puck up. So we’ll see, you have to play games.”

Braun faced his former team for the first time after playing portions of three seasons in Philadelphia from 2019 through this year. Braun, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is fighting for his next contract for the remainder of this season.

Center Ryan Strome missed a fourth straight game with an undisclosed lower body injury, tying up the longest stretch he has been sidelined this season. He had COVID-19 in October. … Strikers Julien Gauthier and Jonny Brodzinski have pushed their way back into the line-up, with Gauthier lined up on the right wing by Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil. Brodzinski replaced Dryden Hunt on the right wing of the second row alongside Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp.

Julien Gauthier fights for the puck.
Julien Gauthier fights for the puck.
Robert Sabo

Forwards Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney are expected to return to training this week after spending extended periods on injured reserve due to upper-body injuries, according to Gallant. Sunday night was Kakko’s 29th straight game off the lineup, while Rooney has missed the last 16 competitions.

Recently signed collegiate star Bobby Trivigno made his professional debut with the AHL Wolf Pack in Saturday’s 5-8 loss to the Syracuse Crunch. Trivigno collected two assists. Justin Braun is active for his second Rangers game since trading


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