This Rangers’ key offensive cog expected to return against Wild

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 01 April 2015 | 18.18

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Barring an unforeseen development, Martin St. Louis should return to the Rangers' lineup Thursday night against the Wild in Minneapolis.

St. Louis has missed eight games, including Tuesday's 3-2 victory over the Jets, with the MCL sprain he suffered late in the March 15 Garden match against the Panthers.

"This is the first day I've skated with my teammates, and I think for me it's a nice progression where it's not the same intensity as a real practice and I can really control my pace a little bit better," St. Louis said following Monday's morning skate.

"I've skated four or five times by myself. With a full practice [Wednesday], I think it will allow me to be ready to go on Thursday."

St. Louis, who resumed skating last Thursday in Ottawa, appeared to skate freely and in full stride as he worked for nearly a half-hour after his teammates had left the ice. He had skated Thursday through Sunday before staying off the ice on Monday's travel day.

"For me, it's my first whack at [a knee injury]," said St. Louis, whose game is so dependent on his legs. "You find yourself protecting it. There are certain motions that hurt and you try and protect it.

"You've got to get confidence as it gets better that you don't need to protect it as much," said No. 26, whose 20 goals are third on the club behind Rick Nash's 40 and Chris Kreider's 21. "I felt that every day I got on the ice, and felt better and better.

"Now I'm jumping in my stride. I'm not cautious in my stride. Those first two strides are a big part of my game. I could feel that I had jump."

St. Louis has not played fewer than 77 games in a full season since 2001-02, when he was limited to 53 in his second year in Tampa Bay because of a broken leg. But this enforced absence on the cusp of the playoffs could be of benefit to the 38-year-old workaholic.

"Most people know I haven't missed a lot of games in my career. I've played through a lot of stuff not to miss games," he said. "This is just one of those things you can't play through."

"Friends have been encouraging me to take some positive out of the negative and look on the bright side [of] getting a couple of weeks to recharge physically and mentally. But it's real important for me to get some games, and not just one or two games.

"It's important for me to get a true feel of where I am and build up my game. I think the amount of games I'm going to get is going to be perfect to feel good about my game going into the playoffs."

The Blueshirts have six regular-season games remaining.


The Rangers had hoped Kevin Klein would be able to return for the final couple of games in the immediate aftermath of the broken arm he sustained in Washington on March 11, but that does not seem likely. The objective now is go get the top-four defenseman back for Game 1 of the playoffs, which would likely be April 16 if the Rangers have home ice.


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