Mike Zibanejad has points in five straight games and the New York Rangers look to have found their mojo back after a stellar overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday.
The now 5-7-2 Blueshirts are back at it tonight against a Florida Panthers team that is facing perhaps the opposite momentum against them as they’ve lost two straight. Florida is 4-7-1 and they are dealing with defensive and goaltending struggles much like the Rangers had in October.
The team lead by their strong young core has not been able to shore up on the defensive end enough and are now third-to-last in the league in goals against.
Players to watch
Mika Zibanejad is proving that he is well deserving of his place as the number one center on the Rangers and is showing a consistent effort day-in and day-out. Zibanejad’s chemistry with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich has finally led to the Rangers finishing on the plethora of scoring chances they have been generating this season.
Zibanejad has 8 points in his last five games including the most ice time of any Rangers forward.
Evgenni Dadonov on the Panthers has largely filled in for Jaromir Jagr’s lost presence on the Panthers first line and similarly to Zibanejad — his chemistry with has led to him being over a point-per-game player for the Panthers with 14 points in 12 games this season.
Dadonov has seven points in his last four games, however he was shut down during the team’s last performance in which they lost 7-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash — Kevin Hayes — Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey — Paul Carey — J.T. Miller
Michael Grabner — Boo Nieves — Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh — Kevin Shattenkirk
Brady Skjei — Steven Kampfer
Marc Staal — Nick Holden