Game 2: Zibanejad dominates Senators with a hat trick and four points

It was a memorable night for Mika Zibanejad. AP Photo via Getty Images

Two words. Mika Zibanejad! For the second consecutive game, he put up four points in a Rangers win. In fact, Zibanejad made a little history that puts him in great company.

Through six periods of the brand new season, Zibanejad has eight points (4-4-8). He joins Jaromir Jagr as the first player to go back-to-back four point games to start a season. The legendary Jagr last did it in ’95-96 with the Penguins. The ageless 47-year old wonder still plays in his native country, the Czech Republic.

It was a good night for the Rangers, who improved to 2-0-0 on the season. They got good performances out of Zibanejad’s line with Artemiy Panarin recording his second power play goal and an assist, and Pavel Buchnevich tallying three two helpers. The number one line combined for all four goals and eight points. Jaw dropping stuff.

UPDATE: Check that. They changed the scoring on the Zibanejad first goal. Chris Kreider gets credited with a assist. Buchnevich loses one.

Jacob Trouba had a primary assist on Zibanejad’s power play rebound that got it started in the first period. He was steady throughout in a team high 22:38 while paired up with rookie Libor Hajek. The revamped D worked out well for David Quinn, who also had Brady Skjei with Adam Fox. Marc Staal stayed with Tony DeAngelo.

They also got a very good game from Alexandar Georgiev, who was strong throughout making 31 saves. The only goal that beat him came on a Brady Tkachuk redirection on a big Thomas Chabot point shot that tied the game at one in the first period.

It was Zibanejad, who did in his former team literally. In a lopsided second, he scored twice. The first one I highlighted in the previous post when he took a Panarin feed and went back and forth with Buchnevich before burying an easy one-timer past poor Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson. He must’ve felt dizzy from that sequence. It was incredible or incredulous depending on who you root for.

With the Sens on a power play, secret weapon Brendan Smith forced a turnover inside his own blueline. Zibanejad and Lias Andersson came two on one. Using Andersson as a decoy, he patiently toe dragged around a diving Senator before wiring one upstairs to complete the hat trick. It was beautiful.

On the other side, Georgiev didn’t give up anything else. His rebound control was excellent. So, he gets the start in Game 2 and picks up right where he left off. A good thing for the Blueshirts, who now don’t play again until next Saturday against Edmonton.

The Rangers worked more magic for a Panarin power play goal at 2:51 of the third to put the game away. The top unit dominated with pinpoint passing, shot attempts and eventually a great passing play started by Zibanejad to Buchnevich, who whirled across for a perfect one-timer by the Bread Man short side for a 4-1 lead.

There was nothing else to see. They’re two for two. That’s also a good baseball term in October. Think Yankees. Exactly.

Three 🌟 Of Game:

3rd 🌟 Artemi Panarin, Rangers (power play goal for 2nd, assist #2 in 18:03)

2nd 🌟 Pavel Buchnevich, Rangers (3 2 🍎 in 16:34)

1st 🌟 Mika Zibanejad, Rangers (hat trick including ES, PPG, SHG, plus 🍎 in 20:32 with 18/22 on draws)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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