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“Rangers Witnessing Peak Performance from Mika Zibanejad at Crucial Moment”

Concerning the Rangers, who simply need to handle their business this weekend in D.C.

After just two games, we’re witnessing Mika Zibanejad at his peak, displaying an elevated level of involvement throughout his 47 shifts, both at even-strength and on special teams. He’s noticeably quicker and more dynamic, demonstrating sharper instincts, faster reactions, and a more assertive physical presence. Zibanejad is actively seeking shooting opportunities while aggressively challenging opponents for the puck, as exemplified in the second period of Game 2 when he intercepted Alex Ovechkin in the neutral zone, initiating a crucial shorthanded rush that led to K’Andre Miller’s pivotal goal.

When Zibanejad joins Kreider on the team’s top penalty kill unit, the Rangers pose a significant scoring threat, nearly matching the effectiveness of the opposing power play. This revelation, stemming from Game 2, is remarkable: during the regular season, the Zibanejad-Kreider PK duo was on the ice for 118:31, resulting in six shorthanded goals for the Rangers while conceding eight power-play goals against—an impressive statistic.

Despite a somewhat concerning season prior, Zibanejad has been exceptional, consistently making his presence felt on the ice. Coach Peter Laviolette acknowledges Zibanejad’s outstanding performance, noting his speed, offensive drive, and ability to create scoring opportunities, particularly highlighting his seamless transition into playoff intensity.

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