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Rangers forward Brassard practices, still day-to-day

by Mike G. Morreale

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Derick Brassard remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will likely be a game-time decision against the Montreal Canadiens for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Brassard, who missed Game 2 at Bell Centre in Montreal with an injury sustained in the first period of Game 1, was on the ice for the first time in five days on Wednesday practicing with his teammates at MSG. He skated on a line with Mats Zuccarello and J.T. Miller, who was filling in for usual partner Benoit Pouliot (rest).

"Nothing has changed with Derick, he's day-to-day," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

Dominic Moore, who filled in for Brassard on the third line in his absence, was skating in his usual spot on the fourth line alongside center Brian Boyle and right wing Derek Dorsett.

"I went through the whole practice, so that's a good sign," Brassard said. "I haven't skated for four days, so it was good to get out there with teammates and finish a practice. I haven't spoken to [Vigneault] yet, but we'll always make a decision as a group with the medical staff."

Brassard, who has four goals and seven points in 15 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, said he will likely skate again Thursday morning. Brassard played two shifts totaling 35 seconds in Game 1 after Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver delivered on an open-ice, shoulder-to-shoulder hit at 3:03 of the first period.

Asked if he would want to be in the lineup or if he would even be able to play if Game 3 were held Wednesday, Brassard shrugged his shoulders, smiled and said, "Good question."

Brassard played well for the Rangers in the first two rounds, scoring four goals, including two game-winners, in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He said it was a lot slower watching Game 2 as a spectator.

"I think we defended really well and capitalized on our chances," Brassard said. "I was really happy to see the guys playing like that; it's not easy to go to Montreal and win a game, and we won two."


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