Rangers get back captain McDonagh earlier than expected

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Ryan McDonagh was labeled as “doubtful” for tonight’s game, but in the end the Rangers blueliner is returning earlier than expected.

The 26-year-old defenseman is projected to be paired with Brady Skjei in Game 3 of the Rangers first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Winning this game would give New York a 2-1 edge and defend the Rangers’ recently gained home ice advantage in the series after they took one in Pittsburgh.

In McDonagh, the Rangers are getting back their captain and their regular season leader in minutes per game (22:21). He hasn’t played since April 4 due to a hand injury.

AHL call-up Raphael Diaz and Dylan McIlrath are both healthy scratches.