WASHINGTON - Dan Girardi's broken nose didn't keep him from playing Monday night. Nor did his black eye. The pulled rib muscle from the bout with Atlanta's Andrew Ladd on Saturday not only put the durable defenseman on the shelf for the first time this season but broke a string of 330 consecutive games.
Girardi, who would have been paired with Marc Staal to help control Alex Ovechkin's line, skated in practice yesterday morning at the Capitals' practice rink in Arlington, Va., and declared that he felt better than on Sunday. But that was not enough for John Tortorella.
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"If he played, I just was not sure he was going to get through," Tortorella said. "It's still not where it should be for him to even attempt to play, and I don't want us shorthanded 10 minutes into the game."
Girardi, who leads the league in blocked shots with 143, also has reached the 20-assist mark for the first time in five seasons with the Rangers.
Hurting Prust plays
Brandon Prust, his right foot still swollen after absorbing a slap shot from Dustin Byfuglien on Saturday, did not practice but did start. "It's just pain. It can't get any worse," he said. But the winger acknowledged that he and many other banged-up players will appreciate the rest during the All-Star break. "It's going to be good for us," he said. "I don't know if any other team needs it more, with all the bumps and bruises."