DALLAS — Mika Zibanejad had the look of a man who was frustrated. Frustrated at the fact that he got kicked out of a one-goal game with just under 10 minutes to play Tuesday night in Dallas. Frustrated that his team has lost five games in a row — four of them by one goal (the other by a 4-2 score, including an empty-net goal).
“You have to be frustrated,’’ Zibanejad said after practice at American Airlines Center, where the Rangers had lost, 1-0, to the Dallas Stars Tuesday. “You have to show some emotions. If you’re OK with it, and you’re not frustrated, something’s wrong, I think. I think the way you deal with it is different. How you deal with it — you’ve just got to bear down. We’ve been playing well, we’ve been close in games, but it’s still not enough. You want to win games; you want to kind of get on a roll. That’s why we play.’’
Zibanejad was ejected from Tuesday’s game when he was given a major boarding penalty against Dallas’ Radek Faksa. The five-minute penalty comes with a game misconduct, so not only did the Rangers have to kill the major penalty without Zibanejad, one of their top penalty-killers, but the team’s leading scorer wasn’t around to try and help tie the game in the final minutes, either.
Initially, Zibanejad hadn’t been called for any penalty on the play. Faksa was engaged with Chris Kreider against the boards, and he was bent over. Zibanejad came over to try and win the puck, and he hip-checked Faksa, who collided with the boards, went down and stayed down. Zibanejad stayed for a moment, looking to see if the Stars player was OK, then, when the play was over he went to the bench. The officials huddled and, upon further review, decided Zibanejad deserved a major penalty. According to Rangers coach David Quinn, it was a linesman who called the penalty and also said Zibanejad hit Faksa in the head.
On Wednesday, the NHL rescinded the major penalty to Zibanejad, which, of course, didn’t help the Rangers after the fact.
“Nothing we can do about it now,’’ Quinn said of the league’s changing of the call. “We’ve got to move forward and get ready for Detroit.’’
It was pointed out to the coach that it was only a few weeks ago that referee Francois St. Laurent had come up to him during a game against the Penguins and apologized for making bad calls in the game.
“Unfortunately, we lead the league in apologies,’’ Quinn said.
Notes & quotes: Henrik Lundqvist, who has started two of the last six games, will play in goal Thursday in Detroit… RW Jesper Fast and D Marc Staal did not practice. Fast, who has a lingering issue that the team is managing, is available to play Thursday, Quinn said, but Staal, who is battling the flu, is not a lock to play… C Lias Andersson, who sat out Tuesday’s game, will be back in the lineup Thursday, Quinn said. The coach said he hasn’t decided which forward will come out of the lineup. Tuesday, fourth-line C Boo Nieves practiced at LW on a line with Andersson and RW Filip Chytil.