MONTREAL - Derick Brassard never saw the hit. And the Rangers might not see him in Game 2.
The center, who was on his second shift of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday, had just made a pass in the Canadiens zone when he was rocked by defenseman Mike Weaver's shoulder. Brassard got up and skated to the bench, appeared to be receiving a back massage from the trainer, then departed for the training room, never to return.
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So the Rangers had to scramble, and they played with 11 forwards for the rest of the game, mostly using Dom Moore in his spot between Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot.
After the game, Brassard, whose back had tightened up during practice before Game 1 of the playoffs against Philadelphia but he recovered to play, didn't identify the injury.
Brassard, who has four goals and seven points in the previous 14 playoff games, said he would see how he felt Sunday before making a decision to dress for Monday's Game 2.
"It's nothing serious," said Brassard, who had two game-winning goals in the Penguins series. "I'm day-to-day, and hopefully, I'm going to be ready to play Monday. I felt I wasn't able to play well for the team [after the hit]." He added that in playoff hockey, he should be more aware on the ice.
Coach Alain Vigneault termed Brassard "day-to-day" and also wouldn't describe the injury or offer an opinion on the hit, for which Weaver was not penalized.
If Brassard were unable to dress Monday, Vigneault could keep Moore with Zuccarello (who had a goal and two assists) and Pouliot and move Brian Boyle from wing to center the fourth line, leave Derek Dorsett on the left side and insert rookie Jesper Fast on the right. Fast, considered more reliable defensively than J.T. Miller, has played in three postseason games, with one assist.