Unless something unforeseen develops before Tuesday’s Garden puck drop against the Ducks, it will be Mika in the Middle for the Blueshirts. “I think this is the right time,” said Mika Zibanejad, who missed the past nine games with the aftereffects of the concussion he sustained against Detroit on Nov. 24. “I’ve been taking it step-by-step and now this is another step, and so far so good. “I’m excited to get back. There’s a little more jump to your game.” Zibanejad, such an integral part of the Rangers’ attack both at even-strength and on the first power-play unit, will slide back between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich on the first line and resume his role as the right-handed presence on the left side of the top man-advantage unit. “It’s comforting to have him back in all situations,” said power-play point quarterback Kevin Shattenkirk. “On the power play, it’s not only the way he shoots the puck, but he makes a lot of poise plays when we need them.” David Desharnais, who filled in for Zibanejad on the top line, will remain in the lineup, moving to the fourth unit between Jimmy Vesey and Paul Carey with Boo Nieves in line to be a healthy scratch. It seems like a counter-intuitive move after the fourth line had established itself as an energy line capable of generating momentum with a strong forecheck.
Rangers are getting Mika Zibanejad back
New York Post | Dec 19