NEW YORK -- Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto all will return to the New York Rangers lineup Thursday night at Madison Square Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nash missed four straight games with an undisclosed injury. He began skating on his own last week and with the team Tuesday.
McDonagh missed Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets as a result of being hit into the glass by Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty on Saturday. McDonagh required 14 stitches near his mouth but said Thursday morning he's healing and is feeling no effects from his collision with the glass.
Del Zotto has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.
Rangers coach John Tortorella said he believes getting Nash back in the lineup will help push some of his other struggling forwards, most notably Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, to deliver more offense.
In the past 13 games, Richards has no goals and six assists, and Gaborik has two goals and two assists.
"The thing that has impressed me about him [Nash], he's a pretty good 1-on-1 player, and we've all seen that, but I think he has the ability to make plays and help other people along the way," Tortorella said. "If some of our offensive guys that are playing with him are on the ice when we score a goal, that helps. Right now where we are with some of [our offensive guys] anything is going to help because they care and they know they're just not doing it offensively. I think it will happen."
Matt Gilroy (flu) will not play. Arron Asham (back) will miss his fifth straight game.
Here are the lines the Rangers will use Thursday:
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Rick Nash
Taylor Pyatt - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
J.T. Miller - Brian Boyle - Marian Gaborik
Stu Bickel - Jeff Halpern - Darroll Powe
Marc Staal - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Steve Eminger