Vanek in for Canadiens; Rangers' Brassard sits
Amid speculation Vanek would be a healthy scratch for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, the left wing took the ice for pregame warmups Thursday night one day after he was dropped to the fourth line in practice.
Vanek has five goals and eight points in 13 postseason games, but only two goals and an assist in the past seven.
Brassard's absence was a bit of a surprise as he participated in a full practice Wednesday after he sat out Game 2 on Monday. Brassard sustained an upper-body injury in the series opener when he was hit early by defenseman Mike Weaver.
Daniel Carcillo replaced him in the lineup for the second straight game.