GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- To a man, the New York Rangers are looking forward to their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Game 1 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN), defenseman Marc Staal may be itching for the opening faceoff just a little more than his teammates.
It's been some time since he last enjoyed a playoff run.
This time last year, Staal was forced to watch the Rangers in the playoffs as he recovered from an eye injury. He missed two months before returning for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals. After logging 17:17 of ice time, he was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the postseason. Just over two weeks later, New York was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Bruins.
Entering this season's playoffs fully healthy and at the top of his game, Staal admits Game 1 can't come fast enough.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers center Derick Brassard declared himself healthy and ready to go for their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round takes place Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN) at Madison Square Garden.
Brassard participated in practice with the Rangers on Wednesday and left early. His status came into question Tuesday when he left New York's skate with a back injury.
"I felt good today. I could have skated for the whole practice, it was just for precautions," Brassard said. "I feel 100 percent for tomorrow."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Goalie Ray Emery will start for the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN) at Madison Square Garden.
Starting goaltender Steve Mason is out with an upper-body injury sustained Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He remains listed as day-to-day. Flyers coach Craig Berube said Mason will not travel with the team to New York on Wednesday afternoon and instead stay behind to receive treatment.
Berube said Tuesday he expected Mason to join the Flyers for practice Wednesday but Mason never made it to the facility. Mason was on the ice for about 40 minutes Tuesday, but most of that time was spent doing individual work with goalie coach Jeff Reese. Mason spent about 15 minutes with the full team.
"[Mason] just didn't feel good," Berube said Wednesday. "It's precautionary. We're doing what we can to help him do what's best. ... He's a day-to-day thing. Not ready to go. That's it. He's not ready to go, so he's not playing."
New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard left practice early Tuesday limping and holding his lower back, apparently sustaining the injury while the Rangers did special teams work in preparation for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Coach Alain Vigneault did not offer any specifics, but believes Brassard will play Thursday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; TSN, CNBC).
"I would say yes," Vigneault told reporters.
But as the days left in the regular season wound down, he gave it less and less of a chance of it happening.
A week later, Akeson finds himself on the cusp of starting his first Stanley Cup Playoff game when the Flyers open the Eastern Conference First Round at the New York Rangers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN).
"A couple weeks ago if you asked me I never would have told you I'd be here," Akeson said after practice Tuesday. "So it's pretty special."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason joined the team for practice Tuesday as it prepares for its Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers, but the Flyers remain unsure if their top goaltender will be available for the start of the postseason.
Mason sustained an upper-body injury with 2:33 left in the second period Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins when teammate Andrew MacDonald was pushed into him by Penguins forward Jayson Megna. Mason played the remainder of the period but Ray Emery came on in relief to start the third.
"I feel better each day and we'll see how I feel [Wednesday]," Mason said via the Flyers public relations department. He opted not to speak to the media after practice.
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren declined to comment Monday when asked by the Philadelphia Inquirer if it could be ruled out that goaltender Steve Mason sustained a concussion when he was injured Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mason sustained an upper-body injury Saturday in a collision with Pittsburgh forward Jayson Megna with 3:33 left in the second period. Mason, who made 21 saves on 22 shots to that point, remained in net for the rest of the period but was replaced by Ray Emery to start the third. Mason was scratched from the lineup Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes with an upper-body injury.
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My focus is always just to play as well as I can and do my job, no matter where the faceoff is.