Lightning journal: Ryan McDonagh solid in debut

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) skates up the ice with center Anthony Cirelli (71) during the second period of Saturday's game vs. the Canadiens. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) skates up the ice with center Anthony Cirelli (71) during the second period of Saturday's game vs. the Canadiens. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Published March 10
Updated March 10

TAMPA — D Ryan McDonagh was on the ice for the start of Saturday's game against the Canadiens, paired with Dan Girardi, his onetime Rangers teammate.

That was by design, a way to ease McDonagh into his first game with the Lightning since coming over from the Rangers at the Fed. 26 trade deadline.

"It's good to have guys out there who know each other and have played with each other," coach Jon Cooper said.

WATCH: Ryan McDonagh talks about his Lightning debut.

McDonagh, who missed his first five games with the Lightning because of an upper-body injury, played 19:15 over 28 shifts in the 3-2 shootout victory. He had two takeaways and blocked two shots.

"I felt as the game continued my legs got better and I felt more comfortable out there with the guys," said McDonagh, who missed a total of 14 games with the injury.

Cooper liked everything about McDonagh's debut.

"His poise and composure in some situations where we may not have put pucks out, McDonagh made sure we got those pucks out," Cooper said.

Extra time again

The Lightning went beyond regulation for the seventh time in its past eight games, winning six of them.

C Brayden Point and RW Nikita Kucherov scored in the shootout, with Kucherov's goal the winner after former Lightning F Jonathan Drouin scored to force a fourth round.

Kucherov became first Lightning player not named Point or C Steven Stamkos to score in a shootout this season.

"Ultimately you need to get saves, and our (goalies) … have made saves in the shootout," Cooper said, "and when you are making saves, it takes a lot of pressure off the shooters."

G Andrei Vasilevskiy, who did not play, is 5-1 this season in shootouts, stopping 16 of 17 shots. Louis Domingue, who played in his first shootout this season, is 5-1 for his career, having stopped 21 of 25 shots, including three of four Saturday.

RELATED: Ryan Callahan helping a young cancer patient fund a 'Hail Mary' cure.

Numbers of the day

100 Points for the Lightning this season, the fifth time in franchise history it has hit that mark

1 Team in the NHL this season with 100 points

Making points

The Lightning needs eight points to tie the franchise record for points in a season, set by the 2014-15 team that reached the Stanley Cup final. The Stanley Cup championship team in 2003-04 had 106 points. That team played the last season before the shootouts were implemented.

Slap shots

C Tyler Johnson scored his 20th goal of the season. He is the sixth Lightning player with at least 20 goals this year. … Domingue is 5-3 with the Lightning. … The scratches were D Braydon Coburn, D Slater Koekkoek, D Andrej Sustr and C Cory Conacher.

Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @RogerMooney50.

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