December 3, 2023

NASHVILLE — Ryan McDonagh and Jonas Johansson every will probably be in unfamiliar territory when the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning begin the 2023-24 season on Tuesday (5:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ESPN, SN, TVAS).

McDonagh, a defenseman for the Predators, will play a regular-season sport at Amalie Area in Tampa for the primary time since he was traded to Nashville from Tampa Bay on July 3, 2022.

McDonagh performed 5 seasons for the Lightning and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021. He was injured and unable to play when Nashville performed at Tampa Bay final season. He did play a preseason sport in Tampa on Sept. 30.

“Clearly it is a particular place,” McDonagh stated. “Nice recollections, nice group of men which are nonetheless there and the teaching workers and whatnot. That is why I needed to go there for a preseason sport, simply to get among the feelings out. Get into the visiting room there so it isn’t too international to me after I stroll in there [Tuesday]. I believe it was good that we performed them a few instances throughout the preseason.

“Not less than I acquired the feelings of the primary time being again within the constructing and the tribute video and stuff out of the best way so I can simply deal with taking part in. Clearly, Tampa nonetheless holds a particular place in my coronary heart with the entire success and recollections that we had. However on the finish of the day, it is an amazing place to begin for Sport 1.”

Johansson possible could have totally different feelings. He’ll make his regular-season debut with the Lightning, changing Andrei Vasilevskiy, their No. 1 goalie who will miss the primary two months after having a microdiscectomy Sept. 28 to deal with a lumbar disk herniation.

Coach Jon Cooper confirmed Monday that Johansson will begin. The 28-year-old was 2-0-0 with a 2.10 goals-against common and .932 save proportion in three video games with the Colorado Avalanche final season, and 14-9-2 with a 2.33 GAA and .920 save proportion in 26 video games with Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate.

Johansson has performed 35 video games in 4 NHL seasons with the Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres, however by no means greater than the 15 he performed in 2020-21 with the Sabres and Avalanche.

It is the primary time a goalie apart from Vasilevskiy will begin the season opener for the Lightning since Ben Bishop began towards the Detroit Crimson Wings on Oct. 13, 2016.

“I am stunned he hasn’t performed extra within the NHL to this date,” Cooper stated of Johansson. “That being stated, I do consider goalies develop later, so perhaps that is his time and the whole lot he is carried out earlier than that is to get up to now. Once more, it is simply preseason, so you’ll be able to’t learn an excessive amount of into it, however he positively deserves to be within the internet [Tuesday].”

Ahead Ryan O’Reilly will make his debut with the Predators towards the Lightning. O’Reilly signed a four-year, $18 million contract ($4.5 million common annual worth) with Nashville on July 1. He’ll possible begin at middle on a line with Filip Forsberg and Juuso Parssinen.

“I believe it has been very nice the previous few days being all the way down to our group and skating collectively and seeing what we’ve,” O’Reilly stated. “I believe there’s pleasure right here. Particularly going towards Tampa, a staff that is established and is aware of their identification. I believe for us, it is a nice take a look at for us to begin. We have a whole lot of good items. We’re prepared to begin the season. I believe guys are able to go and we’re hungry.”

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