The New York Rangers have been riding a strong few weeks of hockey, but their depth up the middle took a hit on Sunday when Mika Zibanejad exited the game after a nasty spill into the boards.
The Florida Panthers and Rangers had just dropped the puck in overtime when Zibanejad raced Panthers winger Reilly Smith to a puck deep in the zone. Zibanejad got his foot entangled in Smith’s skate, lost his balance, and slid ankle-first into the boards.
It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
Zibanejad had just recovered from a particularly hard hit by Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers in that exact area of the rink, too. This time, he didn’t get up so quickly.
Trainers attended to him for a couple of minutes before his teammates helped him off the ice. Zibanejad could not put any weight on his left leg. After the game ended, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault confirmed Zibanejad broke his fibula and would miss 6-8 weeks.
Zibanejad was acquired from the Ottawa Senators this offseason for Derick Brassard. The 23-year-old, a former sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, has 14 points in 18 games with New York.