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McDonagh returns to lineup, Hedman out tonight vs. Detroit

Although Victor Hedman is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Ryan McDonagh will return to the blueline tonight against the Red Wings

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL / TampaBayLightning.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning received good news and bad news with regards to their blueline prior to tonight's matchup against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena, the second half of a back-to-back set for the Bolts.

First, the bad: Norris Trophy candidate Victor Hedman will not play against the Red Wings after sustaining an injury in Saturday's hard-fought 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Hedman skated just seven shifts and 4:36 total. He started the opening period but wasn't seen past the halfway mark of the first. Hedman took the ice for the start of the second and skated one shift before shutting it down for the rest of the night, remaining on the bench for the remainder of the contest.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Sunday Hedman is questionable for Tuesday's game in Toronto but wouldn't be out long term.

On the positive side, Ryan McDonagh will return to the lineup tonight in Detroit and skate for the first time since February 6. McDonagh suffered a lower-body injury blocking a shot from Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and missed 14-consecutive games.

McDonagh ranks second on the Lightning for average ice time (20:40) and is one of the NHL's top penalty killers, averaging 3:17 shorthanded time on ice, sixth highest in the League among all skaters.

Cooper also updated the status of defenseman Jan Rutta, who hasn't played the last 15 games while he continues to recover from a lower-body injury sustained February 4.

Rutta is still a week to 10 days away according to the Lightning head coach.

"If he got to play on the Canada trip, we'd be happy to that," Cooper said, referring to the team's Western Canada swing March 18-21.

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