NEW YORK (WFAN) -- New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault isn't ruling out Mats Zuccarello's return.
Vigneault told WFAN's Mike Francesa on Thursday that the injured winger is progressing and there's still "hope" he'll be back on the ice in the playoffs.
"Mats is doing better," Vigneault said. "He's coming along. He's starting to work out, so we're keeping our fingers crossed here."
The crafty 27-year-old has been out since taking a shot to the head off the stick of teammate Ryan McDonagh in the Rangers' first-round series against Pittsurgh. He missed New York's entire seven-game series against the Capitals, and his status for the Eastern Conference finals is iffy at best. One report last month even said there's a good chance Zuccarello wouldn't be ready for the Stanley Cup Final, should the Rangers advance that far.
So is there any chance we'll see Zuccarello against Tampa Bay?
"There's always hope, Mike," Vigneault said. "There's always hope."
Vigneault also said defenseman Dan Boyle "feels a lot better" from a vicious hit that forced him to exit Wednesday's Game 7 against the Capitals and will be evaluated on Friday.
"You need different players stepping up and being difference-makers," Vigneault said. "That's what has permitted us to go to the conference finals. If we intend to go to the Stanley Cup finals, we're going to need the same thing from some other guys in our group."
Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault
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