A day following the unfortunate circumstance that went against the Rangers’ leading scorer Mika Zibanejad in a 1-0 loss to the Stars on Tuesday night, the league predictably rescinded the five minute boarding major penalty and game misconduct on the top center.
It doesn’t matter. The NHL admitting that the incorrect call was made by a linesman for an incidental Zibanejad hit on Radek Faksa, just confirms the obvious. That sometimes, accidents do happen. It didn’t help the Blueshirts overcome kryptonite Ben Bishop, who improved to 11-2-0 against them for his career.
Regarding the controversial penalty that cost him 15 penalty minutes and the rest of the game, Zibanejad had a couple of interesting thoughts on the call being reversed.
“I was just trying to get in front of him and get the puck since it was right there,” Zibanejad told Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “Just unfortunate. The way he went down, I thought he hit his head on the ice, that’s why I kind of stayed. I just wanted to make sure he was OK. I didn’t think it was from the bump.”
Dallas coach Jim Montgomery revealed that Faksa passed concussion protocol and has a neck strain. So, that is encouraging news for Faksa and the Stars, who remain in the first wildcard out West.
Rangers coach David Quinn had one brief statement on how things have gone for his team when it comes to having calls go against them. “Unfortunately, we lead the league in apologies,” he told reporters following practice at American Airlines Center.
The Rangers finish a brief two game road trip in Detroit Thursday night with face-off scheduled for 7:38 PM. Neither Jesper Fast or Marc Staal (flu) practiced. Fast has been playing hurt. With nothing to play for, it would make sense to have him sit out. Both Lias Andersson and Connor Brickley were healthy scratches on Tuesday.
As far as who’s been playing together, Zibanejad has centered Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich the past two games. Ryan Strome has anchored Vladislav Namestnikov and Jesper Fast. Brett Howden has worked between Chris Kreider and Filip Chytil. Boo Nieves centered the fourth line the other day with Brendan Smith and Brendan Lemieux.
With no Staal at practice, Fredrik Claesson took rushes with Tony DeAngelo. Rookie Libor Hajek worked with Neal Pionk, and Brady Skjei partnered up with Kevin Shattenkirk.
Henrik Lundqvist returns to the net where he’ll likely face Jimmy Howard. Whenever they meet, the games are normally low scoring with overtime likely. If that is the match-up, it would be nice if there were more goals. 2018 Detroit top pick Filip Zadina got his first career NHL goal on the power play the other night. A wicked one-timer. Keep an eye on him.