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Dan Girardi thrilled by Rangers reunion with Ryan McDonagh

Girardi and McDonagh were long-time partners in New York, now teammates in Tampa Bay
In this file photo, Dan Girardi #5 (l) of the New York Rangers celbartes his goal at 36 seconds of the second period along with Ryan McDonagh #27 (r) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2015 in New York City. Girardi is now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and according to NHL trade rumors the team has show interested in McDonagh.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
In this file photo, Dan Girardi #5 (l) of the New York Rangers celbartes his goal at 36 seconds of the second period along with Ryan McDonagh #27 (r) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2015 in New York City. Girardi is now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and according to NHL trade rumors the team has show interested in McDonagh. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Published Feb. 27, 2018|Updated Feb. 28, 2018

Lightning veteran defenseman Dan Girardi woke up from his pregame nap at his Davis Islands home around 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.

With it being NHL trade deadline day, Girardi turned on NHL Network and was thrilled to find out good friend, Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, had been acquired by the Lightning in a blockbuster deal.

Girardi quickly pulled out his phone and welcomed McDonagh with a text.

"Happy you're coming," Girardi said.

"Yeah, it's going to be amazing," McDonagh replied.

Girardi knows what McDonagh will soon go through, being the "new guy" on the team. But like Girardi found out after signing a two-year, $6 million deal in July, it'll also help already knowing several former Rangers, with Anton Stralman and Ryan Callahan familiar faces.

"I think it's going to really help him," Girardi said. "Myself playing with him for a long-time, and Cally and Strals. Those guys are good team guys, he'll fit in really well."

The Lightning's trade – acquiring McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller for a package that included prospects, picks and center Vladislav Namestnikov – brought a jolt to the Lightning dressing room.

"It's amazing that they have faith in us and they want us to go deep," forward Yanni Gourde said. "(McDonagh and Miller) aren't going to come in here and change everything. We've got to play our way and show them how we play. We can't be sitting on those two guys coming in and hoping they save us. We have to go out there and play as a team and we'll be in good shape."

Veteran Chris Kunitz played against both McDonagh and Miller often in his tenure with the Penguins. Kunitz said Miller, 24, brings some speed, grit and an "electric shot." McDonagh will impact Tampa Bay on, and off, the ice.

"He's played big minutes for most of his career," Kunitz said. "He's able to get up the ice, but he's also got a good stick. He's kind of always in the way. He's got the skill aspect but he's a defensive guy, defensive minded."

Said Girardi: "He does everything really good. He's great defensively. Can chip in on offense. He thinks about the right net, he's going to worry about defense first. He's a big, strong, d-man. He can just come in here and be himself."

Girardi said he planned to meet up with McDonagh on Tuesday's offday when he arrives in Tampa.

"I'm really excited," Girardi said. "I want to tell him how great it is here and that we've got a really good chance."

Note: With Nikita Kucherov (upper body, day to day) and Tyler Johnson (lower body, day to day) getting evaluated Wednesday, the Lightning recalled Michael Bournival as insurance.

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