New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Defenseman Kevin Klein will finally return to the New York Rangers' lineup for Thursday's Game 1 of the team's Eastern Conference semifinal series against Washington.

Klein has recovered from a fractured left arm he sustained when being struck by a shot from Alex Ovechkin in a March 11 game against the Capitals.

The 30-year-old had been given a 4-to-6 week timetable for recovery, missing the remainder of the regular season and all of the Blueshirts' five-game, first-round victory over the Penguins.

Head coach Alain Vigneault paired him with trade-deadline acquisition Keith Yandle in a morning practice session, saying: "I'm very confident he'll play well for us. He's been one of our best defensemen all year long."

Klein tallied career bests of nine goals and 26 points in 65 games during the regular season.

Vigneault also revealed that James Sheppard will draw into the lineup to replace Mats Zuccarello, who is lost indefinitely due to an upper-body injury suspected to be a concussion.