No Powe Update; Rangers Prep For Game 4
Darroll Powe did not take part in practice Tuesday at the MSG Training Center and there was no update on his condition after he sat out the second and third periods of Monday night's 4-3 Rangers win over the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Powe delivered a check on Washington's Joel Ward less than halfway through the opening period on Monday, and collapsed to the ice afterwards, seemingly struck by Ward's elbow. Powe seemed groggy trying to get off the ice, and shortly after the hit was escorted to the Rangers dressing room.
With Powe possibly sidelined for Thursday's critical Game Four against the Caps at The Garden, could a path be cleared for Ryane Clowe's return to the lineup? The hulking forward would not say if he planned on returning from his undisclosed injury Wednesday---one that has kept him out of the lineup for four games---but did note that he took part in more contact and was involved in more battle drills than in prior days at Tuesday's practice.
"Sometimes you have to be smart when you have an injury you shouldn't push, but if you ask around people that know me, they'll tell you I do not like missing games," Clowe said on Tuesday. "If there's an opportunity to play, I'll play. I'm not holding out here and trying to save it. There's nothing to save. But I don't want to just play a period or a few shifts. If I play I am in, all in."
A decision on the lineup will be made Wednesday prior to Game Four.
Rick Nash also did not take part in practice on Tuesday, given a "maintenance day" by the coaching staff. Nash recorded his first point of the post-season by assisting on Derek Stepan's game-winning goal in the third period of Game Three.
With a win under their belts, the Rangers have shifted focus to trying to even their best-of-seven series with Washington with a victory on Wednesday night. To do that the Rangers are aware they need to be even better in all facets of the game than they were in Monday's win.
"A loss Wednesday would put us in a 3-1 hole heading back to their place so, yeah, we have to follow up (Monday's) win with another in Game Four," explained Brian Boyle after practice. "We need to be harder on the puck, better defensively, everything, because you know they are going to play a strong game."
Three of the Rangers four goals on Monday were scored by players going hard to the net---Boyle, Arron Asham, and Stepan all scored that way, while Derick Brassard scored from the slot on the power play---and that is a part of the Blueshirts gameplan that will not change on Wednesday.
"Games One and Two we thought sometimes we were good at it, and at times we did not do it nearly enough," Stepan said of getting to the net to generate offense. "That is something as a team that we are trying to keep focus on, contuing to get pucks and bodies to the net."
Despite the victory in Game Three, and having shown they can solve Caps goalie Braden Holtby---at least for one night---the Rangers are by no means taking their one-game success for granted heading into Game Four.
"We definitely are by no means feeling comfortable," explained defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "We've got some confidence now in our goal scoring, and we have to continue to defend our home rink here and play an even stronger game (in Game Four) because they are going to come out that much harder."
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