Derek Stepan had been held out of the New York Rangers lineup since after game three of their Eastern Conference finals series until this morning’s pre game skate prior to the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens game five matchup tonight in Montreal.
#NYR Stepan taking line rushes between Kreider and Nash. I would assume he plays tonight but should know more later this morning
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) May 27, 2014
Stepan has been officially announced as in or out for tonight’s game as of yet, but it is newsworthy that he was back practicing with his teammates, especially since he was skating between Chris Kreider and Rick Nash, his usual line partners, while wearing a clear face guard to protect his surgically repaired jaw. Stepan’s jaw was broken during game three of the series, which caused him to miss game four at Madison Square Garden on Sunday Night.
Step is tied for second on the Rangers in playoff scoring with 11 points, posting 3 goals and 8 assist in 17 playoff appearances this post season.
I believe the Rangers will dress and play Stepan tonight, I don’t know why they would have had him skate with his usual linemates if he was not ready to play tonight. The Rangers are one game away from advancing to their first Stanley Cup finals for the first time since their 1994 championship season, but even with a 3-1 series lead they, of all teams, should know that they can not take the outcome of the series for granted. They advanced to the conference finals after trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. Stepan is one of the teams best players, and they will need all capable hands on deck this evening.