After a month on the side lines with an undisclosed “upper body” injury, Mika Zibanejad is set to rejoin the team for tomorrow night’s matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers #1 center has missed 13 of the 22 games in the season, but has been practicing with the team in a contact jersey ove the past week or so.
He’s expected to slot in between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich, as the coach has elected to keep Ryan Strome paired with Artemi Panarin to give the team two scoring lines. By keeping Strome at center, it means Filip Chytil will likely slot to the third line, and Brett Howden back to the fourth. The recently recalled Cristoval Nieves will probably slide to the wing, with Micheal Haley returning to the pressbox.
The pending return comes at a time when the team has secured two come from behind wins in consecutive games and is starting to show a level of resiliency that was absent for much of the year. Adding the all-round playing ability of Zibanejad will also hopefully help the Rangers stiffen up a penalty kill that has been a bit loose in recent weeks, albeit they’ve done well in the last two games.