There was a mysterious beginning to the game for the Rangers and McDonagh, who left the bench and went to the locker room before he had even played a shift on Friday. He eventually returned to the bench and began taking more regular shifts in the second period.
“The freezing hadn’t kicked in, so we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to play,” Vigneault told reporters.
“So, at that time we made the decision to go with seven (defensemen). He went back in right at the start of the first period, and it kicked in a little bit. But he played through a lot of pain.”
While their captain returned to action, the Rangers couldn’t conjure much of an offensive push in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.