Mika Magic: Zibanejad’s Historic Night

Mika Zibanejad and a second round pick, were traded from the Ottawa Senators to the New York Rangers for Derick Brassard and a seventh round pick in 2016. The Rangers won the trade at the time, but didn’t know they were getting a true number one center. Zibanejad has 38 goals and 33 assists on the season for a total 71 points on the season, good for second on the team.

History at the Garden

On Thursday, Mika Zibanejad did what only two other Rangers have ever done: he scored five goals in a single game.

He is the first player in 23 years to accomplish this feat. The last player to score five goals in a game was Sergei Fedorov in 1996. He is also the second person in NHL history to score five goals in a game with the fifth being the overtime winner. The other player to do it was Fedorov.

Moving Forward

Thursday night’s game meant far more to the Rangers than one player’s accomplishment. Only two years after announcing a full rebuild, the Rangers are right in the thick of the playoff race. They are only three points out of a playoff spot, trailing the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and New York Islanders. The Rangers were one of the winningest franchises of the past decade, but failed to reach the ultimate goal. One of the main things they were lacking was a true number one center. They now have that in Mika Zibanejad. He may not have another five goal game; however, the 26 year old is only starting to show the type of player he can truly be. He and prized free-agent signing, Artemi Panarin, will lead this team together for at least the next six years.

The rebuild is over and the window for the next Stanley Cup contending Rangers team is open. If the Rangers were to win the cup in the next few years, it should be Zibanejad accepting it as captain. He has the respect of the locker room, the star ability, and the leadership capabilities to captain the next great Ranger team.

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-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)

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