Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto all participate in Rangers' optional practice
Web linksSteve Zipay's Blue Notes
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto were among the Rangers who skated during a very well-attended optional practice Wednesday. All three are feeling better from their various undisclosed injuries, but their status for Thursday's game at home against Tampa Bay will not be known until Thursday.
The Rangers have lost four straight and would welcome back any injured player. Nash, in particular, would be helpful because he is one of the team's stars. But it was his first full practice since he was injured on a hit by Boston's Milan Lucic on Feb. 12 that may have caused a concussion, though Nash and the Rangers aren't saying.
Nash did say he was happy to be back on the ice and would certainly like to play Thursday night.
"I'm definitely making progress," Nash said. "It's just exciting to be back out with the boys and back out in a full practice. Definitely a lot of energy out there."
The Rangers had a lot of energy in the third period of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Winnipeg. They entered the period trailing 3-1 and got within a goal twice, outshooting the Jets 14-6. Taylor Pyatt and Anton Stralman scored for the Rangers in the third, but their rally fell short.
"We need to just gain some confidence here," coach John Tortorella said. "I thought we played a good first period, an [awful] second period and then in the second half of that third period we did some good things. So we're just going to try to feed them some good things in what they did . . . We just need to hope something kicks in with some other people and maybe get some guys back from injury."
McDonagh said he was not concerned that Pacioretty was not disciplined by the league.
"I don't really feel anything about the hit," he said. "It's part of the game. He was just trying to play. Whatever happens happened. I'm not even thinking about it anymore. I'm just trying to get myself ready to put the uniform back on and get back on the ice."
Notes & quotes: Brandon Mashinter was sent back to the AHL Connecticut Whale.