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Rangers' Lundqvist, Nash expected to return

Brassard (flu) didn't travel with team to Detroit, could still play Saturday

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

RANGERS (39-22-6) AT RED WINGS (33-23-11)

TV: 2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG, FS-D

Season series: Kevin Klein scored at 1:59 of overtime to lead the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 21 at Madison Square Garden. Forwards Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider assisted on the goal, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with a 22-save shutout. Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the Red Wings.

Rangers team scope: Lundqvist (neck spasms) and forward Rick Nash (bone bruise) are expected to return. Defenseman Marc Staal, who has missed the past two games with back spasms, returned to practice Friday. Lundqvist and Nash went through an optional practice Thursday and full practice Friday. "Today was important for me to get a practice with full speed, 2-on-1s, situations with a lot of speed coming at me," Lundqvist told the "I feel like I'm in good shape. It's just about getting my timing back." Lundqvist missed three games after colliding with captain Ryan McDonagh in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 3. Nash has missed 20 games since injuring his left leg blocking a shot Jan. 22. He skated on a line in practice with recently acquired center Eric Staal and right wing Viktor Stalberg. "It's nice to get through a full practice and get back playing hockey," Nash said. "It felt good. Everything I wanted to do we did today and I'm happy with the progress it's making." Center Derick Brassard didn't travel with the team because of flu symptoms, but could travel on his own and play. 

Red Wings team scope: The Red Wings overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday and look to match that effort against the Rangers. "[Against Winnipeg], I think we played with a little bit more desperation in our game and more urgency, and that's kind of what we have to do here," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson told the Red Wings website after an optional practice Friday. "It's going to be like the playoffs here, like it has been the last three [or] four years. It's going to be a playoffs just getting into the playoffs. We know that. It's time to step up. We've got to do it for 60 minutes, though. We can't just play for 40 or 30 or 50." Coach Jeff Blashill is likely sticking with the same lineup. He decided on a starting goalie, but said he won't reveal his decision until Saturday.

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