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Mika Zibanejad to miss 6-8 weeks

Rangers center breaks fibula in loss to Panthers

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

Zibanejad exits with injury

FLA@NYR: Zibanejad leaves with injury in overtime

Mika Zibanejad crashes awkwardly into the boards, forcing him to leave the game with an injury in overtime

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NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad sustained a broken fibula during overtime Sunday and will miss the next 6-8 weeks, coach Alain Vigneault said following a 3-2 shootout loss against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden.

Zibanejad was injured 41 seconds into overtime when his feet got tangled with Panthers forward Reilly Smith's feet and he fell awkwardly into the boards. His left foot jammed into the boards and it caused his leg to buckle.

Zibanejad scored his fifth goal of the season in the second period. He has 15 points in 19 games.

"Every team has injuries and we don't expect to be any different than anybody else," Vigneault said. "Every coach says it in these moments, it's an opportunity for somebody else to get more ice time. We are confident with our guys, whoever we decide to put in that spot will do the job for us."

Vigneault said the Rangers won't call up a forward before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, ROOT, NHL.TV). Oscar Lindberg, who was a healthy scratch Sunday, will go into the lineup in Zibanejad's place.

"I would say right now we've got 12 healthy forwards, so we're going to stay this way," Vigneault said. "I'm not sure for how long, but at least for [Monday's] game."

Video: FLA@NYR: Zibanejad redirects the puck into the net

Vigneault could use Lindberg at center in place of Zibanejad, who was playing between Jimmy Vesey and Mats Zuccarello. Vigneault could also move Brandon Pirri up from the fourth line and put him in the middle. Josh Jooris is also an option to move up from the fourth line.

"This just happened a couple minutes ago," Vigneault said. "You're going to have to give me the flight [to Pittsburgh] and I'll figure this out by [Monday]."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said he could hear Zibanejad scream and knew it wasn't good.

"He was in a lot of pain," Lundqvist said. "I didn't see what happened until I watched the screen. You could tell the way they make the sound, the noise, if a guy is in pain or not."

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