TAMPA – D Ryan McDonagh will make his much-anticipated Lightning debut this afternoon against the visiting Canadians during a 1 p.m. start at Amalie Arena.
Acquired on the Feb. 26 trade deadline from the Rangers along with C J.T. Miller, McDonagh missed the five games the Lightning played since he joined the team with an upper body injury. All told, McDonagh has missed 14 games between the two teams because of the injury.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said McDonagh will play on the power play but not, for the time being, on the penalty kill.
"We're in pretty good shape in that area," Cooper said.
As for what he expects from McDonagh, Cooper said, "Just compete. Do all the things you did to make you the player you are today. Not to do too much since it's his first game with us. Pretty excited to have him back."
Cooper said backup goalie Louis Domingue will be in net today, making his seventh start of the season. He is 4-3 with the Lightning, having won his last game in Dallas on March 1 when he stopped 31 of 35 shots in an overtime victory.
This is the fourth meeting this season between the two teams. The Lightning are 2-0-1 with two of the three games decided in a shootout.
Keep an eye on D Victor Hedman. He has more regular season assists (21) and points (27) against the Canadiens than against any other team.
RW Nikita Kucherov is on a four-game scoring streak against the Habs (3-3—6). C Steven Stamkos as two goals and two assists in his last three games against the Canadiens.
A goal today by Yanni Gourde and he will break the Lightning rookie record for goals in a season by a rookie of 24, set in 2013-2014 by C Tyler Johnson.