|ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2014||[Print without images]|
MONTREAL -- Injured New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan made the trip to Montreal with his teammates, though his status for Game 5 remains unclear.
Though it appears unlikely Stepan would be ready to return on Tuesday night, when the Rangers have a chance to close out their Eastern Conference finals series against the Montreal Canadiens, coach Alain Vigneault did not rule him out.
Stepan suffered a broken jaw in Game 3 and was forced to undergo surgery to repair the fracture. He did not play in Game 4.
Could he potentially be available Tuesday?
"I couldn't say right now," Vigneault said at Monday's media availability at the team hotel in Montreal. "I have no idea."
Asked whether Stepan would require a morning skate before returning to the lineup, Vigneault indicated that would be the very least needed to show he was ready to play.
"That would be a minimum," Vigneault said.
Regardless of when Stepan comes back, or if he comes back at all this series, he will have to wear a cage or some sort of additional equipment that protects his surgically-repaired jaw, Vigneault said.
Meanwhile, while Stepan made the trip, J.T. Miller did not.
The 21-year-old forward, who drew into the lineup in Stepan's absence, stayed back home in New York with an upper-body injury. Miller slammed into the left goalpost during the second period of Sunday's 3-2 overtime win and did not play a single shift after the collision.
He appeared to injure his right shoulder when he plowed into the net.
Miller's injury is not believed to be too serious and he could return later in the series, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
The Rangers lead the series 3-1 heading into Tuesday's game at Bell Centre. The team has a 12-1 record when leading a series 3-1.