WASHINGTON — Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh missed his third game Wednesday with what is believed to be a lower-body injury, but will skate for the first time Thursday, coach Alain Vigneault said.
McDonagh was one of six regulars sitting out to heal from minor injuries, and Vigneault declared that the defenseman would play the rest of the regular season only “if he’s 100 percent. He’s getting closer.”
“If our situation was where we needed the points, those guys would be playing right now,” Vigneault said. “Nothing’s going to change for us, so you can give a little more ice time to some guys to make sure that those guys are 100 percent.”
Vigneault added that he would have no concern if McDonagh began the playoffs without playing this weekend.
Glass on playoff roster?
Could Tanner Glass, who played his second straight game and ninth since his call-up after the Montreal Canadiens knocked the Blueshirts around on March 4, be in the lineup when the postseason begins against those Canadiens?
Vigneault didn’t answer on Wednesday, saying he would “focus on making those decisions on Sunday” after the Rangers conclude the regular season at home against the Penguins.
A case certainly can be made for Glass, 33, who had 25 hits in those eight games and is 1-1-2 with 12 minutes in penalties. He skated in all 57 games with Hartford before he was summoned. The Rangers were 4-3-1 with him in the lineup entering Wednesday night.
No planning yet for Habs
Although Vigneault and the coaching staff have known for days that the Canadiens would be their playoff opponent, he refused to acknowledge that there has been any planning for the Habs. Asked if there were discussions about the Canadiens, Vigneault insisted that no time had been set aside in the past few days for research and won’t be before Sunday.
“No,” Vigneault said before Wednesday’s game. “We’ve got Washington and then Ottawa and then Pittsburgh, and we’ll have enough time to get ready for our first opponent.”
Been a while
In an odd schedule quirk, it was the first visit to the nation’s capital for the Rangers since Oct. 22, the fifth game of the season, when they won 4-2. They hosted the Capitals twice in nine days, on Feb. 19, winning 2-1 and losing 4-1 on Feb. 28.