Ryan McDonagh missed his fourth straight game Thursday night with an injured shoulder. Whether he plays in the regular-season finale Saturday against the Canadiens will be decided after Saturday morning's skate in Montreal.
McDonagh, who has "been skating real hard," coach Alain Vigneault said, spent Thursday doing off-ice training and will skate on his own Friday. McDonagh, who was averaging 25 minutes per game, leads all Rangers defensemen in scoring with 14 goals and 29 assists.
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If Vigneault decides to dress McDonagh, who was injured on Alex Burrows' hit on April 1, it likely means that one of the four righthanded defensemen will sit. Raphael Diaz, who was acquired at the trade deadline and played his 10th straight game Thursday night, likely would be a healthy scratch.
During the playoffs, the policy of keeping information on injuries close to the vest is one that Vigneault embraces.
"If you know an opponent has got a weakness, you might try and exploit that," said Vigneault, who believes all 16 playoff teams attempt to keep specifics on injuries internal. "If somebody's got an upper- body injury, it would be safe to say teams say, 'Let's make sure we finish our checks,' and if it's a leg, you'd say, 'Let's challenge him more on that side.'
"If I'm injured, I'm not telling anybody," said Brad Richards.
"I don't know about a target. They're going to come at you anyway. It's not the first game, it's the seventh game where stuff catches up to you."
Home ice key
Brad Richards referred to past experience in Game 7s to explain why home-ice advantage is important, including having the last change after stoppages.
Richards, who won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay, said, "We had two [Game 7s] that year, Philly and Calgary, and we felt in control both games . . . I don't recall too much about Ottawa, but with Washington, we scored first and it seemed like we had way more jump."