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Rangers Insider: Marc Staal skips game for birth of daughter

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Marc Staal leaves the team on Wednesday to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Marc Staal leaves the team on Wednesday to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. 

Marc Staal had his priorities in order Wednesday night: Family first, hockey second.

The Rangers defenseman skipped his team’s 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks to be present at the birth of his and his wife Lindsay’s second daughter, Emily Jennifer.

Alain Vigneault was optimistic Staal could join the team in Toronto for Thursday night’s game against the Maple Leafs.

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Dylan McIlrath stayed in the lineup with Staal out, but the rookie defenseman was unusually shaky and fell almost completely out of Vigneault’s rotation with one shift in the final 9:55 of the second period and three quick shifts in the third.

RYAN RETURNS
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh logged a team-high 24:06 of ice time in his return to the lineup following a four-game absence due to a concussion and said he felt no lingering effects from the injury he sustained on a sucker-punch by Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds Feb. 6 in Philadelphia.

McDonagh did look strong, but he also was on ice for both Blackhawks third-period power play goals. The Rangers are nearly full strength. Left wing Rick Nash (left leg bone bruise, week-to-week), however, missed his 10th straight game.

ANTTI UP
Vigneault would not divulge his starting goalie for Thursday night in Toronto, but it is expected to be backup Antti Raanta.

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