NHL Buzz: Zibanejad in lineup for Rangers opener against Islanders


Welcome to the NHL Buzz! With the 2020-21 season underway, NHL.com has you covered with all the latest news.

New York Rangers

Mika Zibanejad will be in the lineup when the Rangers play the New York Islanders in their season opener at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, MSG, MSG+2, NHL.TV).

The center tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the start of training camp and had to sit out for the first week. He has participated in two full team practices, Monday and Wednesday, and skated prior to a scrimmage Sunday and on Thursday morning.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Zibanejad said. “Each day that’s been going by I think it’s been better. Felt really good Monday, felt good yesterday and it just gets better every day. I don’t know what the plan is time-wise but I’m ready to go and I’m just excited.”

Zibanejad, who scored 41 goals in 57 games last season, is expected to skate on the top line between left wing Chris Kreider and right wing Pavel Buchnevich.

“He’s a go tonight and Mika only goes full bore,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “You will see full Mika tonight.” — Dan Rosen


Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand will be a game-time decision when the Bruins open their season against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NESN, NHL.TV).

“We’re here and I’m ready to go. So I’m excited,” Marchand said. “It was just a little bit that I had to manage to try to make sure that I could play tonight, because the last thing I want to do is go through camp and then miss a few games where I thought that I could be ready to play.”

The forward returned to practice Wednesday and took part in the morning skate Thursday. He began training camp on Jan. 4 but left practice early Sunday and missed practice Monday and Tuesday. Marchand had surgery to repair a sports hernia Sept. 14; the expected recovery time was four months.

“The first two-and-a-half months after we finished (surgery) I couldn’t do anything at all,” Marchand said. “So I had a big build-up to kind of get back to where I am, and I’m still behind a little bit. But I think with the way that it ramped up so quickly and having a 10-day preseason, it would be a lot for my legs and groins and hips and all that.

“So it was more just trying to manage soreness from coming back. It’s one thing to skate by yourself, but when the first time you’re really skating with other guys is in training camp, that level is so much higher and so much harder.” — Amalie Benjamin

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