Derek Stepan plays in Game 5

Stepan

The New York Rangers received an extra boost with the return of forward Derek Stepan for Game 5 against the Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough as Montreal defeated the Rangers, 7-4, to force Game 6.

Stepan did his part, scoring twice for the Rangers.

Stepan, who suffered a broken jaw in Game 3, participated in the morning skate Tuesday at Bell Centre, wearing a full facial protector just four days after undergoing surgery to repair the fracture.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said the team's medical staff would huddle Tuesday afternoon before making a decision on the 23-year-old center's status for Game 5.

"The only way he's going to play is if he gets full medical clearance," Vigneault said in his pregame briefing with the media. "That's not up to him."

Vigneault said nutrition was a concern for Stepan because he has been limited to a soft-food diet.

Stepan, who was not available to the media after Tuesday's skate, took line rushes between Chris Kreider and Rick Nash, his regular linemates.

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