TAMPA — Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh could return to action as soon as Sunday for the team’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres.
“Not tonight,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of McDonagh’s availability. “But I think he’s on the day-to-day (consideration) after that. So maybe Buffalo, we’re hopeful, but not tonight.”
McDonagh, third on the team in average ice time (22:36), is the Lightning’s top shot blocker and an instrumental piece of the first-team penalty-kill unit. He will miss his eighth straight game tonight when Tampa Bay hosts the Bruins.
He has been out with an upper-body injury sustained while blocking a shot during a 3-2 loss in Boston on March 24.
McDonagh has been skating with the team for the past several days. During today’s morning skate, he skated with his usual penalty-kill partner, defenseman Erik Cernak, as the Lightning spent a significant time of the session focusing on special teams.
With 12 games left in the regular season, getting McDonagh back would provide a boost as the team has gone 4-2-1 in his absence, but has struggled at times to defend its own net.
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