NEW YORK -- After saying in English on Thursday that forward Derick Brassard remained day-to-day with an upper-body injury, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault sounded far more certain when he discussed Brassard's status in French.
Speaking with French reporters, Vigneault said he did not think Brassard would play against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.
"I would say right now I think no," Vigneault said in French when asked about Brassard's status for Game 3.
Brassard has not played since a hit from Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver early in the first period of Game 1 of the conference final. In the collision, Brassard appeared to aggravate a back injury that kept him out of the lineup late in the regular season. He has skated with the Rangers the past two days but was not available Thursday to discuss his status for the game.
"He's been a big part of our offensive success," Vigneault said of Brassard. "So we're a better team when he's in our lineup."
Before being injured, Brassard was a key factor for New York's offense. In 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games he has four goals and three assists. Of his four goals, two are game-winners.
No word was given regarding his status for Game 4 on Sunday at MSG.
"[Brassard] is an unbelievable player. He brings a lot to the lineup and brings a lot to the locker room too," Rangers forward Chris Kreider said. "Anytime you can add him to the lineup after playing the way we did the past couple of games it's going to be a huge boost."
Forward Benoit Pouliot returned to practice Thursday after sitting out practice Wednesday for what Vigneault called a maintenance day and Vigneault said it's likely he'll be in the lineup for Game 3.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has starred for New York so far in the series, was given the morning off; he was replaced in practice by third-string goaltender David Leneveu. The expectation is that Lundqvist will start in Game 3.
Here are the projected lineups:
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Dale Weise
Michael Bournival – Daniel Briere – Thomas Vanek
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Nathan Beaulieu – Mike Weaver
Scratched: Brandon Prust, Douglas Murray, Travis Moen, George Parros, Ryan White, Francis Bouillon
Injured: Carey Price (knee)
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Martin St. Louis
Benoit Pouliot - Dominic Moore - Mats Zuccarello
Daniel Carcillo - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
John Moore - Kevin Klein
Scratched: Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk, Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller
Injured: Derick Brassard (upper body)