Mika Zibanejad did not take part in the Rangers’ practice at Lasker Rink in Central Park on Saturday and will miss his sixth straight game Sunday with an upper-body injury.
Zibanejad, the team’s No. 1 center, has been sidelined since exiting late in the first period against Boston on Oct. 27 after taking a high hit from Patrice Bergeron. The Rangers said that night that Zibanejad’s status was day-to-day. Coach David Quinn said after the game that Zibanejad had not suffered a concussion. He said a few days later that the injury was more involving the neck.
Zibanejad started skating last week and progressed to the point that he participated in Wednesday’s morning skate, though he wore a red no-contact jersey.
Asked Saturday if he could elaborate on Zibanejad’s status, Quinn said, “It’s just an upper-body [injury] that, you know, takes a step forward and then it’s a step back . . . I know we all want more definitive answers, but it’s day-to-day.’’
Staal out at least two weeks
Defenseman Marc Staal had surgery Friday night because of an infection in his ankle that “came on pretty quickly,’’ according to Quinn. He added, “He’s going to be out for at least two weeks and then we’ll re-evaluate.’’
Quinn said the infection was the result of an injury from a blocked shot several weeks ago. It had been sore and it got worse after Thursday’s 4-2 road win over the Hurricanes. Staal played 16:56 in that game and was credited with two blocked shots.
Staal was playing a second consecutive night, having returned to the lineup in Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Detroit. He played 18:19 against the Red Wings and blocked four shots. Before that, he had sat out three straight games as a healthy scratch, though now it appears he wasn’t fully healthy.
Quinn said the Rangers won’t be calling up a defenseman from AHL Hartford at this point. Brady Skjei, who was scratched Thursday, will return to the lineup Sunday.
Lundqvist in net again
Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 80 of 83 shots in winning back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, will start in goal Sunday afternoon against Florida, Quinn said.