Marcus Johansson wasn't going to return to the lineup just for the sake of playing in a game.
When he returned to the Devils from his second concussion of the season, he wanted to feel 100 percent healthy, but also good enough where he could make an impact and be a difference maker on the ice.
Johansson and the Devils feel the forward is at that point, allowing him to play in Game 3 of their playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at Prudential Center in Newark.
Johansson hasn't played in a game since suffering the concussion from an illegal elbow from Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand on Jan. 23, and nearly three months later, he feels completely back to his old self.
"It's a lot of good feelings. It's a big relief and I'm excited," Johansson said. "It's been frustrating sitting on the sidelines and watching. it's been a long time now, so I'm just happy to be able to go."
Devils' lines for Game 3
Meetings between Devils' medical staff, coaches and Johansson on Sunday led to the decision to clear Johansson for Monday's game.
With the Devils down 2-0 in the series and fighting for their season, they couldn't just run him out there to test the waters and get some game action. The coaches and Johansson both wanted the forward to be able to make a difference.
"It was just making sure he felt he was ready to come in and contribute," coach John Hynes said. "It's not a situation where the player wants to just come in and play, or we want to make a lineup change. He feels he can make a difference. We feel he can make a difference."