PostGame Analysis

Mika Zibanejad Nets Hat Trick In Thrilling 4-3 Victory Against Rival Devils

The New York Rangers rebounded after being shutout against the Flyers with a thrilling comeback victory against the New Jersey Devils. Mika Zibanejad was incredible as he posted his second career hat trick and first as a Ranger. Lundqvist stopped 22 and Mats Zuccarello added three more points to fuel the Blueshirts to their 5th win in 7 games.

The key to the first period was special teams as all three goals were netted on the powerplay. Following a terrible power play by New York, the Devils took advantage of a power play of their own. As the Rangers were about to clear the puck, Neal Pionk turnover the puck and Devils’ Nico Hischier ripped a shot high over Lundqvist and into the net. At 16:18 of the period, slightly over ten minutes later, New Jersey doubled their lead by virtue of a great goal by Marcus Johansson.  Former Ranger Brian Boyle hit the post, and the puck found its way to the right side of the net and Marcus Johansson Scored With a diving effort in the crease. The Rangers were able to draw a penalty late in the frame and would pick up a goal with two seconds remaining to bring the score within one. Kevin Hayes ripped slap shot and Mika Zibanejad netted his first of the night as he tipped the puck under Keith Kinkaid.

The Blueshirts dominated the second period out shooting their division foes 12-5.  Against a fatigued Devils squad, they were able to finally to find the tying goal. Mika Zibanejad sniped the puck top shelf on the powerplay for his second of the game. The goal was scored late in the period, and it was clear that the third frame was going to be something special.

At 4:43 Chris Kreider broke the ice with the game’s first even-strength goal. Chris Kreider picked up his team leading 23rd goal of the season to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Not surprisingly, this was the third consecutive goal in which the Rangers’ top line was on the ice. However, just seconds later, the Devils scored a goal of their own to tie the game.The Devils caught the Rangers sleeping in their own zone and Egor Yakovlev netted a beautiful goal with a quick wrister from the high slot. In the last five minutes, once again, Zibanejad and Zuccarello came back on the ice  and it resulted in yet another spectacular goal. Zuccarello corralled the puck in the offensive zone and dished a pass to a striding Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad made an incredible deke from in close and chipped the puck over Keith Kinkaids pad to cap off the hat trick. Once the goal was announced, hats came flying onto the ice from dedicated Rangers fans to the frustration of the hometown Devils fans.

Following tonight’s victory , the Rangers will return  to action Saturday evening against the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning at primetime on NBC.

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