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McDonagh returns to lineup vs. Blackhawks

Rangers captain missed four games because of concussion

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

BLACKHAWKS (37-18-5) at RANGERS (32-18-6) 

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports 

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh will be back in the lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. 

McDonagh missed the past four games because of a concussion sustained during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 6. The Rangers went 3-0-1 while McDonagh was out. 

He participated in an optional morning skate Wednesday, declaring himself 100 percent and ready to play against the Blackhawks. 

"It feels like a long time," said McDonagh, who leads the Rangers with an average of 22:44 of ice time per game. "In the hockey world, four games is a long time. It's good to be back." 

McDonagh practiced in a non-contact jersey last Saturday and his condition continued to gradually improve. 

"First [concussion] for me and it's just kind of not knowing how you're going to feel the next day after doing a little bit of a simple bike ride," McDonagh said. "It might not seem like much, but you never know how you're going to feel the next day or throughout the day. It's kind of a long waiting game and people checking in, asking how you're doing. It kind of stays on your mind a lot. You want to focus on feeling better and not talking about it so much. Hopefully it stays away." 

Wednesday will be the final game for Chicago before it participates in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Minnesota Wild at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports). The Blackhawks wrapped up a four-game homestand with a 7-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. 

Chicago won three of four on its previous road trip from Jan. 26-Feb. 6. 

"We'd like to continue on with momentum we got in the last game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought that last trip we had the puck a lot, played the right way, played the road game that was ahead of us. (We were) checking, playing the right way, keeping the puck, putting it in good areas, making them defend simple in their own end. The area that we weren't great on that homestand was how we played without the puck in our own end, and we can be better in that area. How you defend without the puck back in our own end is what's important against a team like the Rangers that likes to keep the puck." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

BLACKHAWKS

Andrew Shaw - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik  
Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane  
Andrew Desjardins - Phillip Danault - Teuvo Teravainen  
Brandon Mashinter - Dennis Rasmussen - Vincent Hinostroza  

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson  
Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brent Seabrook  
Erik Gustafsson - Michal Rozsival  

Corey Crawford  
Scott Darling  

Injured: Marian Hossa (leg), Marcus Kruger (wrist) 
Scratched: Viktor Svedberg, Jiri Sekac  

RANGERS

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello  
J.T. Miller - Derick Brassard - Jesper Fast  
Oscar Lindberg - Kevin Hayes - Viktor Stalberg  
Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Daniel Paille  

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi  
Marc Staal - Kevin Klein  
Keith Yandle - Dan Boyle  

Henrik Lundqvist  
Antti Raanta  

Injured: Rick Nash (bone bruise) 
Scratched: Dylan McIlrath  

Status report: Staal was not at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday morning; his wife is expecting their second child. It is unknown if Staal will be available to play. Boyle skated after missing practice Tuesday because of the flu. "Everything is in flux right now," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We haven't heard back from Marc at this point. [Boyle] skated this morning and he's feeling better." … Blackhawks defenseman Rob Scuderi cleared waivers Wednesday and will report to Rockford of the American Hockey League. Scuderi, 37, hasn't played in the AHL since the 2005-06 season. He did not have a point in 17 games for Chicago after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Trevor Daley on Dec. 14. Gustafsson will play after being a healthy scratch the past two games. He has gone 10 games without a point. 

Who's hot: Kane has a three-game point streak (two goals, four assists). Shaw and Keith each have a goal and four assists during a three-game point streak and Seabrook has three goals in his past two games. … Lundqvist has allowed two or fewer goals in each of his past five starts and 11 of his past 13. Stepan has three goals in his past two games. Yandle has a goal and three assists in his past five games and a three-game point streak. Zuccarello has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his past six games.

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