If you weren't paying close attention to the Rangers' thrilling win over the Coyotes on Monday, you may not have even noticed that Chris Kreider was hurt.

You won't be able to overlook that fact tonight, though, as the winger won't be on the ice to play the Flyers in what is certainly the Blueshirts' most important game of the season.

The Rangers aren't saying much with regard to his absence, beyond that it is a hand injury and that he will not see the ice tonight.  Reports from Canada's TSN, however, indicate that the injury is serious enough to sideline Kreider for at least a month.

News that, while not the worst the Rangers could have received - management would have been looking for bridges to jump off had similar gloom been visited on Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, or Rick Nash - is disastrous for the club.

Kreider's promising combination of speed, skill, strength, and willingness to play the tough, grinding minutes has served an important role in the recent run of success for the Rangers - even if it has been combined, too often, with mistakes that have drawn glare and scorn from the coaching staff.

JT Miller has been called up from Hartford to replace Kreider in the lineup tonight, and likely for however long the winger is out.  While Miller, himself, boasts a promising skill-set,  his game is an immature one.  Miller, while capable of contributing, won't be able to fully replace Chris Kreider.

The question, then, becomes - with the Rangers desperately hanging on to a playoff spot, one point up on the Flyers who have two games in hand - how does the team fully replace Chris Kreider?

The answer, sadly, is one we've given for years with regard to the Rangers.  It's time for the big money players to play like big money players.  Rick Nash, and more recently, Martin St. Louis have disappointed since they've joined the Rangers.

It's time for those two players to step up their games and become the potent offensive machines the Blueshirts thought they were acquiring.

It's an overly simple answer, but the best answer is sometimes the simplest one.

There are nine games left in the regular season.  This is the time that superstars are paid to play like superstars.