Injured New York Rangers center Derek Stepan joined his teammates for the morning stake on Tuesday at the Bell Centre in Montreal before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Canadiens.
Stepan was still awaiting clearance from team doctors on his availability to play after suffering a broken jaw on Thursday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series in Madison Square Garden. He had surgery on Friday morning and has been fitted with a plastic protector to cover his jaw.
It was the first time since before the injury that he participated with the team in a practice. He skated as the center on his regular line that includes Rick Nash and Chris Kreider.
"There's a lot of things that have to fall into place for him to play," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday morning.
Stepan was injured early in Game 3 on an illegal hit by Canadiens forward Brandon Prust, who was suspended for two games by the NHL and will sit out Tuesday night. But Stepan returned to the ice after getting X-rays in the locker room and had an assist on the tying goal in regulation. A CT scan the next morning revealed the break.
The Rangers lead 3-1 and could close out the series with a win on Tuesday night that would send the team to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994.
In 17 playoff games, Stepan has three goals and eight assists.