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Lundqvist could play for Rangers this weekend

Nash also close to returning, but Marc Staal isn't skating

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Injured New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and forward Rick Nash may be able to play this weekend, coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday.

Vigneault provided an update on Lundqvist, Nash, and injured defensemen Marc Staal and Dylan McIlrath prior to the game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. The four players did not travel here.

"Both Henrik and Rick skated; both had a real good day," Vigneault said. "Marc Staal did not skate but is feeling a lot better. Dylan was re-evaluated and I think I said yesterday he was day-to-day; it's going to be more in the vicinity of a couple weeks here. Overall it was a pretty good day other than Dylan."

Staal has back spasms that kept him out of a 6-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday. Lundqvist has been out with neck spasms since he was injured March 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nash has been out since Jan. 22 with a bone bruise in his left leg he sustained against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers play Saturday at the Detroit Red Wings and at home Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"All the information I'm getting from our medical staff is [Lundqvist] should be ready by the weekend," Vigneault said. "So the neck spasm, I think today they were saying everything was almost gone and he felt real good on the ice and had a real good practice with Rick and [assistant coach] Benoit Allaire who stayed behind. … Rick had a good day today. He's basically gone from week-to-week to day-to-day. I'm not sure if it's going to be on the weekend, but he's progressing nicely."

McIlrath sustained a knee injury Sunday in a collision with Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck. Defenseman Brady Skjei was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.

"It was something with his knee," Vigneault said of McIlrath. "I wouldn't get technically … I'm not quite sure. It's something to do with his kneecap, so it's going to be a couple of weeks there."

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