Maybe it was the Poutine that caused the New York Rangers to be a bit sluggish but they rallied in the third period with four goals to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Mika Zibanejad started the four-goal rally by scoring at the 11-minute mark of the third period.
Ryan Strome scored twice and added an assist while Phillip Di Giuseppe and Adam Fox each added a goal. Third-period rallies are nothing new for the Rangers now have outscored opponents 81-56 in the third period this season, and their plus-25 goal differential in the third period this season is the best in the NHL.
Their nine-game road winning streak is tied for the eighth-longest in NHL history. They are also the first NHL team that has posted a nine-game road winning streak since the Nashville Predators accomplished this during the 2017-18 season.
Mika Zibanejad leading the way for the New York Rangers
One of the keys to the third-period comeback was to place Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin together on a line. In post-game interviews, players mentioned that head coach David Quinn was less than pleased with their effort, especially with the first two lines, and this led to the pairing.
Zibanejad has now scored in six straight games for the Blueshirts. He is the first Ranger who has posted a six-game goal streak since Jaromir Jagr during the 2005-06 season.
That six-game goal streak is tied for the longest goal streak in the NHL this season, and he is one of four players who have posted a six-game goal streak in 2019-20 joining the likes of Patrick Kane, Sebastian Aho, and Max Domi.
Thursday night’s goal was his thirtieth of the season, making him the first Ranger who has registered 30 or more goals in two consecutive seasons since Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and the first from a center since Mark Messier did this in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
After the game, Zibanejad said of the third-period line switch that the result of that was that they “Played harder, worked harder, played faster, and we saw the result of that today.” They will need to continue that philosophy as they travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Friday night.