Simon Gagne returns to Kings lineup for Game 3


It’s official: Simon Gagne will get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup finals.

That’s the word out of Staples this morning following the morning skate — news broke a short time ago that the Kings winger will make his playoff debut on Monday and appear in a game for the first time since suffering a concussion in December.

Gagne missed 48 games during the regular season — and, obviously, all 16 of L.A.’s playoff games — and only recently resumed practicing. He’s been skating hard, having to the Stanley Cup finals once before (losing in 2010, with Philadelphia) and cognizant of the fact this might be his best chance at hoisting Lord Stanley’s mug.

Sounds as though Kings forward Brad Richardson will be the odd man out after playing just 2:23 in the third period and 1:10 in overtime of Game 2. This could be a move to inject offense into the L.A. lineup as the Kings only have two regulation goals in the series.

Gagne’s improbable return harkens back to last year’s Stanley Cup finals. The Canucks had all but ruled out Manny Malhotra (eye) playing in the series — very much like what L.A.’s done with Gagne — yet Malhotra returned for Game 2 and received a raucous ovation from the Rogers Arena faithful.

Expect Staples to be very loud this evening when Gagne hits the ice.

Related: Kings’ Gagne waits patiently for chance: “I am not going to wish anything bad”