Coach Alain Vigneault met with the media and revealed the diagnosis for Derek Stepan, who temporarily left Game 3 after a high, late hit from the Canadiens' Brandon Prust and it's not positive at all for the Rangers. Stepan has a broken jaw.
"Step right now, at this time, is probably getting operated on," Vigneault said Friday. "He broke his jaw yesterday, so we'll have an idea of the time frame tomorrow."
Stepan was cleared to return to Game 2 after leaving but on Friday he underwent surgery to fix his broken jaw and as of yet, there's no timetable for a return. The initial X-rays of Stepan's jaw came back negative, hence his return to the game, but more detailed scans found the fracture.
Usually teams aren't quick to reveal injuries this time of year so there is some transparency on this one for a pretty clear reason; Brandon Prust has a hearing with the NHL over this hit that was completely missed in the game by the officials. Injuries contribute to suspension decisions when determining the length so the Rangers letting it be known that Stepan suffered a big injury on the play -- and clearly one to his head -- seems to just be a matter of helping the NHL out a little bit.
Politicking aside, Stepan being out any amount of time is huge for the Rangers and is certainly a bigger loss for them than Prust is for Montreal. Much bigger.
Stepan has yet to miss a game in his four-year NHL career. This season in 82 games he had 17 goals and 40 assists, a slight drop from his 44 points in 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.