Blake Wheeler

Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz. With the postseason underway, has you covered with all the latest news.

New York Rangers

Blake Wheeler could return for the Rangers at some point during the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers.

The 37-year-old forward has been out since sustaining a lower-body injury Feb. 15 but was cleared for contract May 13 and has been practicing with the team.

New York hosts Game 1 of the best-of-7 series on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC).

"I think once you get rid of the [noncontact] jersey and come off injured reserve (May 16), that's kind of been my goal the whole time since I got hurt -- to be an option and be available again," Wheeler said after an optional practice Sunday. "It's in the coaches' hands from there, but our group has done such a great job.

“I'm ready in any capacity I can help out."

Wheeler had 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 54 regular-season games. He has 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists) in 65 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets.

New York coach Peter Laviolette there's no timeline for when Wheeler will be back in the lineup.

"I would say that he's done a lot of things to put himself on the good side of [returning]," Laviolette said. "It's amazing to see the work that he's put in, the way he attacked this, and he's now back and he's on the ice and is working every day to make himself come into the conversation, and that's awesome.

"This is a guy that has been around this game for a long time, and he's done some amazing things. He also realizes that this is an opportunity and he's going to do everything he can to make himself a possibility."

Rangers forward Filip Chytil, who hasn't played since a 3-2 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the second round because of soreness and illness, could also be an option. Game 3 was his first since Nov. 2, when he sustained an upper-body injury. Chytil had six assists in 10 regular-season games.

"The team is playing great right now," Chytil said. "I don't want to create any other headlines, so I'm just going to say I can bring the speed to the game and some skill, create chances.

“I'm not going to change anything from before (if I get into the lineup)." -- Mike G. Morreale

Vancouver Canucks

Thatcher Demko will not play against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round on Monday (9 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN).

The Canucks’ No. 1 goalie has not played since sustaining an undisclosed injury in Game 1 of the first round against the Nashville Predators on April 21. He resumed skating two weeks ago and was on the ice this week working on crease movement patterns with goaltending coach Ian Clark.

Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said at the time it was not related to the previous knee injury that kept Demko out for five weeks late in the regular season.

“Demko’s not going to play Game 7,” Tocchet said after a 5-1 loss in Game 6 to the Oilers on Saturday.

Demko is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goalie in the NHL, after going 35-14-2 with a 2.45 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and five shutouts in 51 games.

Casey DeSmith played Games 3 and 4 against Nashville before missing Game 5 with a minor lower-body injury. Third-string goalie Arturs Silovs took over and has played all eight games since, going 5-4 with a 2.89 GAA and .898 save percentage in nine postseason starts. He allowed five goals on 27 shots Saturday.

“He was fine,” Tocchet said after the loss. “We have a lot of confidence in ‘Artie.’