NEWARK — Rick Nash missed his third straight game on Tuesday, but skated lightly and stickhandled for the first time in 11 days, testing his injured left leg at the end of the Rangers’ morning skate.
Nash, who has a deep bone bruise, was injured twice in the third period against Carolina on Jan. 22. On the first shift, he hit a rut in the ice and fell awkwardly into the boards and had to be helped off. He later was struck by Justin Faulk’s shot, and left the game for good. Two CT scans did not reveal a fracture, but Nash’s leg is still painful when he applies pressure.
“He’s been getting treatments at more regular intervals,” said coach Alain Vigneault, who termed Nash day-to-day. “He’s coming along, we’ll see how he reacts. It’s just the pain right now.” Depending on how he feels after Tuesday’s brief appearance, Nash possibly could practice Wednesday. The Rangers host the Wild on Thursday and visit Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, but Nash’s conditioning level and strength are not the same as before the injury.
McDonagh likes new All-Star format
Ryan McDonagh, the team’s lone All-Star, endorsed the new format. “Guys like the fact that there was some competition to it and 3 on 3’s a better brand as far as speed and skills and playing defense a little more,” he said. “You can’t hide out there.” Overall, he said, “the goalies were playing incredible.”
As part of the Metropolitan Division team, which lost 4-3 to the Atlantic Division, McDonagh said: “We were doing our best to find a way to get to the second round, came up a little bit short. We met as a team beforehand, so we were organized. It wasn’t a lack of effort.”
McIlrath might still see ice time
Defenseman Dylan McIlrath was also scratched, but could get ice time in the final 32 games. After playing 23 consecutive games, Dan Boyle, 39, was rested in the final game before the break, and Vigneault indicated that the staff would be monitoring him closer.