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Rangers' Clowe hoping to return for Game 3

by Dan Rosen

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Just as he was prior to Game 2, injured New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe is hoping he's able to play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

The Washington Capitals lead the Rangers, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series.

"When I spoke to you guys [Friday] I said I wasn't ruling out that game and I'm not sure either [about Game 3], but it's a possibility," said Clowe, who has missed three straight games dating back to the last game of the regular season. "That's kind of where we're at right now."

Clowe skated on his own prior to the game Saturday and practiced Sunday in a regular contact jersey. However, it was basically a non-contact practice so he still isn't sure if he's able to take a hit or give a hit, which is likely going to be the deciding factor in if he plays or if he sits again.

"Maybe I felt I could have been ready [for Game 2] but I probably wasn't at the stage where I can do that," Clowe said. "I haven't had any real contact yet and we haven't had any in practice. I want to play as soon as possible so if it's [Monday], hopefully that's the case."

Clowe made it sound as though he asked to play in Game 2, "but it was kind of decided that I wasn't going to play anyways.

"As a player you're always trying to get in there but you've gotta make sure you're fit to play and you can at least help the team," he added. "I don't want to go in there and come out again, so I want to make sure I'm ready."

He's definitely itching to get back in.

"It's a terrible feeling," Clowe said of not playing. "As a hockey player who loves to compete, you hate watching games and playoff games are so intense and physical. I just love that. That's why I wanted to come here, to help make a push in the playoffs and to have to watch the first couple of games has been real difficult. When I come back, whenever that is, I'll be ready. I'll just play my style that I think will be effective this time of year."

As he has been doing since late in the regular season, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal participated in the full practice Sunday but no update was given on his status. Staal did not speak to the media and coach John Tortorella has said he will not provide injury updates during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


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