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Postgame Notebook: No Update on Zibanejad; Desharnais on Strong Game

Pavelec on entering in relief

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Forward Mika Zibanejad was a late scratch for Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers with what the team said was an upper body injury.

Coach Alain Vigneault did not have an update on Zibanejad after the game, but said he should know more on Wednesday with the team scheduled to have an off day.

"Mika came in tonight and tried it in warmup. He just wasn't able to go," Vigneault said. "I'll know more - I just found out that he was going to try in warmups, so I'll know more tomorrow for you."

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David Desharnais was notified at around 5:30 that he could be in the lineup if Zibanejad was unable to play and he fit in seamlessly in Zibanejad's spot on the top line between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich.

The trio combined for nine points on the evening, including three assists from Desharnais, who had played just once since Nov. 17.

"It's good to have," Desharnais said when asked about how positive a night it was for him. "Too bad we couldn't have the two points. From a personal standpoint, it's nice to have a game like that."

Video: FLA@NYR: Kreider buries one after passing clinic

Desharnais said Kreider is a pretty "easy guy to play with," and Kreider praised the veteran's ability to step in on short notice and perform the way he did.

"[I] [c]an't speak enough about the professionalism of David tonight," Kreider said. "Obviously not expecting to play, then stepping in and playing big minutes. Playing as well as he did and really carrying our line and carrying our team. That was really impressive and great to see."

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Ondrej Pavelec hadn't appeared in a game since Nov. 17 in Chicago, and hasn't started since Oct. 28 in Montreal.

But the job of the backup goaltender is be ready when called upon, and Pavelec was when he came into the game in relief of Henrik Lundqvist with 3:13 remaining in the first period and the team down 3-0. 

Pavelec allowed just two goals and said after the game that despite the hole his team was in when he entered the game, he was optimistic his team could battle back. 

"I believed that we could come back and I was just trying to shut them down and give the guys a chance to regroup and come back," said Pavelec, who had 19 saves. "I was just focused on myself and what I was going to do, because I hadn't played for a while. I was surprised how I was feeling; I thought it was going to be way worse. I try to work hard in practice, but of course the game is a little bit different. I felt good right away so it's more disappointing."

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