Rick Nash is back in the New York Rangers lineup after the star forward missed 17 games because of a concussion.
Nash passed his final test Tuesday when he skated with his teammates before the game that night against the Boston Bruins. Nash has being skating — mostly on his own — the past two weeks after his symptoms subsided.
He was cleared to return Sunday and told coach Alain Vigneault the next day he was ready to go. Nash hasn't played in a game since he was injured on a hit from San Jose's Brad Stuart on Oct. 8 in New York's third game of the season.
"I'm going to go tonight," Nash said after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "Last night, I just thought it would be the best thing, moving forward, talking to everybody. I'm excited, it's kind of controlled emotion. It's been a long six weeks so I'm excited to get in there.
"I think the first everything is going to take awhile, whether it's a hit, a shot or a pass, making different plays. It's a long time off, so it's going to take some time."
Vigneault plans to use Nash as he normally would before the injury — his second concussion in eight months — but he will talk to him throughout the game to see how he's feeling.
"He is going to play a regular shift and he is going to play some power play," Vigneault said. "I would like to be able to keep him in that 15-minute range. He hasn't played for quite some time. It's almost for him like going through training camp again."
Nash skated for several consecutive days and then practised with the team last week, first in a non-contact capacity. He underwent tests Thursday.
Nash logged just under six minutes of ice time the night he was hurt in the first period. It was the only game of the three he played this season in which he failed to record a point.
He received just more than 15 minutes of ice time in the season opener and just under 18 minutes in the second game — one day before he was injured.
"I think we'll just guide it as we go along," Nash said. "I'm sure [Vigneault] has had a lot of time with players coming back from injuries, so I leave that up to him."
J.T. Miller will be a healthy scratch from Tuesday night's lineup. The Rangers had already sent down forward Brandon Mashinter to Hartford of the AHL on Monday.