Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh will return to the lineup Thursday night at the Garden, Rick Nash also expects to play, and Michael Del Zotto’s status is unknown for the team’s third and final matchup of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Fourth-liner Arron Asham (back) is expected to miss his fourth straight game, while defenseman Matt Gilroy (flu) will sit out after playing in 12 straight following six healthy scratches to open the season.

That will keep Steve Eminger on the blue line after his 20-plus minute, one assist performance in a return to the lineup in Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

Henrik Lundqvist, who is looking to return to form after surrendering a soft game-winning goal to the Jets’ Evander Kane, will get his second straight start.

Nash (undisclosed injuries) said he expects he’ll be ready to play but that he’ll test himself in warmups just to make sure he feels as well as he did Thursday morning. Nash has missed four straight games, and the Rangers have an 0-3-1 record without him.