TAMPA – For Lightning wing Ondrej Palat, his recovery has been long and frustrating.
Palat suffered what is believed to be a high ankle sprain on a slash to the back of one of his skates from the Wild's Jared Spurgeon on Jan. 20. Almost two months later, Palat is still lightly practicing in a red noncontact jersey.
"It's a tough injury, and nothing you can do," Palat said Friday. "You've got to wait until it's 100 percent. You don't want to rush it."
Palat said he hopes to get in a few games before the playoffs start. The Lightning has 14 games left, including Saturday against Montreal. The Lightning has missed Palat, arguably its best two-way forward.
It's difficult for Palat to be out this long because of what coach Jon Cooper called a dangerous play. Palat was in front of the net when Spurgeon got him around the heel, and Palat caught his skate in the ice.
"It was an unnecessary play," Palat said. "It's the kind of play that happens in games. An unnecessary play, but an unlucky play."
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh participated in his first full team skate without a red noncontact jersey. He had partners, including Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman, and was part of most drills. The Lightnings believes McDonagh (upper body) can return next week, either Tuesday against Ottawa or Saturday against Boston. … Would expect backup G Louis Domingue to start Saturday against Montreal.