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Rangers' McDonagh to miss start of postseason

New York captain is day-to-day with upper-body injury

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh won't be available for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of an upper-body injury.

The Rangers play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round. Game 1 is Wednesday at Consol Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports, MSG, ROOT).

"He is definitely not going to start (the series)," coach Alain Vigneault said after practice Monday. "He is day-to-day."

McDonagh did skating drills, but never took shots before practice while wearing a no-contact jersey. He left as formal practice started.

McDonagh was injured April 4 in a 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets when he was struck in the right hand by a puck. He has missed the past four games.

Vigneault did not say who would replace McDonagh in the lineup, but it appears that rookie Brady Skjei may have the upper hand on Dylan McIlrath.

"[McDonagh] definitely won't be able to go [in Game 1], so I'm going to make up my mind in the next couple of days," Vigneault said.

McDonagh leads the team with 22:21 ice time per game and is second among Rangers defensemen with 34 points.

"We obviously want him back as soon as we can," defenseman Marc Staal said. "Anytime you are going into a game without your captain, you need other guys to step up and play well. That is what we will try to do."

Defenseman Dan Girardi skated before practice and was scheduled to skate after practice, according to Vigneault. Girardi, who missed the final two games of the regular season after sustaining a lower-body injury in the 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 5, was not a part of the 50-minute practice Monday.

"If there is nothing that happens between now and [Tuesday], he should practice with the team [Tuesday]," Vigneault said.

Forwards Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello (lower body) and Viktor Stalberg (lower body) were full participants in practice Monday.

"Everybody was there, everybody is good to go," Vigneault said.

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