Late Thursday night, the horrible news surfaced — and has since been confirmed by the Rangers — that Martin St. Louis' mother, France, has passed away at the age of 63. According to the Toronto Sun, France St. Louis suffered a heart attack in the hospital following a lengthy illness.
It's unsure what St. Louis' status is for tonight's game 5 in Pittsburgh, a must win for the Rangers as they trail in the series three games to one. The former MVP is yet to post a point against the Penguins, and has been held off the scoresheet since registering an assist in game 5 versus Philadelphia. If the Sun's report of it being a "lengthy illness" is true, one can't help but wonder if the matter has been weighing on the wingers' mind, who had this to say of his game 4 performance:
“This was probably the worst playoff game I’ve played as long as I can remember playing. For some reason, I couldn’t do anything… I made poor plays and bad decisions…I was awful.”
If St. Louis can't go tonight — and no one could blame him if he doesn't suit up — Alain Vigneault will have another conundrum on his hands as he tries to eek some offense out of his club. The Blueshirts have scored just five times in the series, were blanked by Marc-Andre Fleury consecutively in games 2 and 3, and have been constantly undermined by their anemic power play, which is an almost unfathomable 0 for its last 36.
J.T. Miller could draw into the lineup if St. Louis isn't available. Miller has 2 points — both assists — in 3 playoff games, and could slide into St. Louis' spot alongside Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin — assuming Vigneault doesn't have wholesale changes in mind. Jesper Fast — who's suited up three times in the playoffs for the Rangers — is another option, but the Swede saw under ten minutes of action in his last two appearances.
St. Louis' potential absence would place even greater pressure on Rick Nash — who, as you may have heard, is still looking for his first goal this postseason — but is also pointless in his last eight, and Derek Stepan — mired in a six-game point drought of his own.
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