WASHINGTON — Center Mika Zibanejad, who is in the concussion protocol, will miss his fifth straight game Saturday when the Rangers host the Devils, coach Alain Vigneault said Friday.
Zibanejad, who has 11 goals and 22 points, has been especially missed on the power play as a second righty on the first unit. He initially was injured by Detroit forward Darren Helm’s hit on Nov. 24 but was cleared to play against Vancouver two days later. When symptoms appeared, he was shut down before the Nov. 28 game against Florida.
In the five games before Friday, including three without Zibanejad, the two main power-play units had scored only once in 16 opportunities. That was when Carolina goalie Scott Darling fumbled away a puck, leaving David Desharnais with an open net. A second power-play goal came from fourth-liner Paul Carey late in that game. The Rangers were 0-for-3 on the power play in their 4-2 loss to the Capitals on Friday night.
“We’re in adjustment since Mika’s been gone,” Vig neault said. “The way the power play sets up with that unit is a little different. We haven’t had a lot of time to work at it: two practices.”
Defenseman Steven Kamp fer was scratched and Ondrej Pavelec, who made 41 saves in the 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, backed up Henrik Lundqvist. Vigneault said he hadn’t selected a starter for Saturday. If Lundqvist starts, it’s possible that Pavelec will be in net Tuesday at the Garden against the Dallas Stars.
Bob Crawford, the radio play-by-play voice of the Hartford Wolf Pack for two decades, will call his first NHL game Saturday. He’ll sub for Don LaGreca and be joined by Pete Stemkowski on ESPN/98.7 FM.