Mika Zibanejad puts the New York Rangers On His Back in Victory Over the Caps

Jim Bay
New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad
Feb 28, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed Thursday night’s game, you may have missed an epic moment in New York Rangers history. Mika Zibanejad scored five goals, including the game-winner, in defeating the Washington Capitals 6-5.

Artemi Panarin had three assists, and as a footnote, Tony DeAngelo had the other goal for the Blueshirts. This crucial win keeps that Rangers within striking distance of a playoff spot.

It also spotlight’s the crucial role Zibanejad plays with the team, not so much for the number of goals, but for the fact that he came up with so a big play after the Alex Ovechkin tied the game with under a minute left to play.  In breaking their three-game losing streak, the Rangers are now just two points behind that other team with New York in front of their name for the final playoff spot.

Zibanejad comes up huge for the New York Rangers

So we must start with how significant this night was. With his fifth goal, Zibanejad tied the single-game franchise record, shared with two other players. He is only the fourth NHL player in the 21st century to accomplish the feat.

After his fourth goal, he was the first Ranger to score four in a game since Ryan Callahan did that on Mar. 6, 2011. Oh, because he scored three, he earned the coveted hat trick, the fourth hat trick of his NHL career, his second this season, and his first hat trick at MSG. With the five goals, his season total jumped from 33 to 38.

In doing so, he became the first Rangers center who scored at least 35 goals in a season since Eric Lindros accomplished that feat in 2001-02. This is not a one-game or even one-week type of hot streak. Since February 1, his 17 goals is the most in the NHL. Since this almost feels like an infomercial for Zibanejad, we could use the phrase “Wait…there is more!!” So here it is: Zibanejad recorded his 14th power-play goal of the season, tying his career-high.

This also ranks him third in the NHL for this category. So if you watched this game, this puts his tremendous night in perspective. If you did not get to watch, at the very least hunt down the highlights somewhere, such as at NHL.com.  You will not be disappointed.