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Lightning’s Ryan McDonagh nearing return

Journal: Plus the perfect kill ended, celebrating Gasparilla early, a four-on-four overtime.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) on the ice against the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 7. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) on the ice against the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 7. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jan. 15
Updated Jan. 15

TAMPA — Ryan McDonagh is nearing a return. The defenseman skated with the team for the first time since being injured Jan. 4 in Ottawa.

McDonagh had skated alone while the team was on the road over the weekend, but he joined them for morning skate on Tuesday. He did not, however, play against the Kings that night.

Jon Cooper said he hopes McDonagh, who was hit with an inadvertent elbow to the head against Ottawa, will be able to play before the bye week. The Lightning play a back-to-back against Minnesota and Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.

Related: Lightning beat the Kings in a rare shootout ... only their second of the season

There was no update on Pat Maroon, who also missed the game. Maroon took an inadvertent elbow to the head on Thursday, but he returned to the lineup Saturday. He then slid into the boards hard, shoulder first against the Flyers, and skated off holding his right shoulder.

Loose pucks

  • The perfect kill has ended. The Lightning killed 20 straight power plays, but finally gave up a goal on the advantage Tuesday. They went five complete games without giving up a power-play goal and totaled 376:20 between goals allowed, before Dustin Brown scored in the third period.
  • The Lightning are celebrating Gasparilla early, since they won’t be back at Amalie Arena before the party takes place. They sprinkled the game with a pirate theme, including fan games and graphics (my favorite being Lightning and Kings pirate ships battling).
  • The NHL plays three-on-three overtime, but the Lightning and Kings ended up playing four-on-four. The overtime started with 1:02 left on a Lightning power play, so at four-on-three. There was not a single whistle in the five-minute period, so they continued at four-on-four.
  • Hate watching games alone? Me too. The Lightning are hosting a watch party for Thursday’s game against the Wild. The event will be at World of Beer in Tampa. The party starts at 7 p.m. with an 8 p.m. puck drop.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes his third NHL All-Star Game appearance Saturday in St. Louis. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    NHL all-stars and players around the league praise the Lightning goalie for his size and athleticism, and for making both desperation and “boring” saves.
  2. Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, center, smiles as he is congratulated by teammate Steven Stamkos, left, and Erik Karlsson, right, after scoring a "no shot" goal for a hat trick during the NHL All-Star game Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 in Tampa, Fla. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    Embrace players’ creativity with a shootout competition and hockey H-O-R-S-E.
  3. Tampa Bay center Anthony Cirelli doesn't necessarily have All-Star Game flair, but his importance to  the Lightning is never in doubt. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Lightning have too many stars for everyone to be an all-star and they aren’t the only team with that issue.
  4. FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 file photo, the Philadelphia Flyers' mascot, Gritty, performs during an NHL hockey game in Philadelphia. Chris Greenwell has alleged that the mascot punched his 13-year-old son, Brandon, after a photo shoot in November. The Incident is under investigation. [DERIK HAMILTON                        |  AP]
    The Flyers mascot is accused of punching a 13-year-old “as hard as he could.”
  5. United States' Kendall Coyne skates during the Skills Competition, part of the NHL All-Star weekend, in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. [BEN MARGOT  |  AP]
    Diana C. Nearhos | Women’s hockey is at a crossroads as players try to figure out what kind of professional league they want.
  6. Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey team general manager Kelly McCrimmon holds a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020. Head coach Gerard Gallant was fired less than two years after leading the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final. Peter DeBoer will be the coach for the rest of the season. [SEAN KILPATRICK  |  AP]
    Diana C. Nearhos | The NHL looks like musical chairs for coaches. Get to know Cedric Paquette.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrate after he beats Arizona Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill (31) to score the first goal of the game during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Lightning forward has hovered just below 20 goals for years and finally reached the mark Friday.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) leads the celebration as players contratulate right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) after he beat Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) to tie the game 3-3 in the final moments during third period action at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Tampa. The Lightning went on to win 4 to 3 in the shootout.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay went from sixth place in the Atlantic Division to second behind a 10-game win streak.
  9. Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) gets beaten by a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov (86) as Lightning's Steven Stamkos (91) looks on during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. [JOHN WOODS  |  AP]
    Tampa Bay pours on the goals with seven total, including two from Nikita Kucherov.
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) celebrates his goal, the first of the game, along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) and center Tyler Johnson (9) beating New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay also reassigned Alex Volkov to AHL Syracuse as Pat Maroon returned to the lineup.
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