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Rangers' Wheeler injures right leg early in game against Canadiens

Blake Wheeler New York Rangers Blake Wheeler - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Rangers forward Blake Wheeler injured his right leg midway through the first period Thursday night against Montreal and had to be helped off the ice.

New York later said Wheeler was ruled out for the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.

The 37-year-old right wing was knocked down along the boards by Montreal defenseman Jayden Struble behind the Canadiens net at the 11-minute mark. Wheeler fell backwards and his right leg bent at an unnatural angle.

He couldn't put any weight on the leg when he tried to get up and was assisted from the ice by teammates at the Zamboni entrance to the left of Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault. A stretcher was waiting just inside the runway.

Wheeler has nine goals and 12 assists in his first season with the Rangers. He has appeared in all 54 of New York's games and had been playing on the top line with center Mika Zibanejad and left wing Chris Kreider.