Zibanejad nets a hatty as Rangers top Devils

Mika Zibanejad notched his first hat trick as a Ranger (and an assist), Mats Zuccarello had three assists, and Kevin Hayes had two assists as the Rangers’ top players took the rest of the team on their backs in a 4-3 win over the Devils. Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves in the win.

For the second straight game, the Rangers controlled the play, with a whopping 60% of the shot attempts and spending the majority of the game in the offensive zone. This was much like the game against the Flyers, except the Rangers dressed skill forwards and got skill forward production. Adding Pavel Buchnevich to the Zibanejad/Zuccarello line helped create a dominating line that the Devils could not answer.

Novel concept, dressing skill.

Devils 1, Rangers 0

Neal Pionk got stripped of the puck here, and Nico Hischier was there to collect the garbage for the powerplay goal.

Devils 2, Rangers 0

That’s Pionk again who couldn’t control the puck, and Brian Boyle took it and put one off the post. Marc Staal, who had Marcus Johanssen behind him, went to cover Boyle about 3 seconds too late –he had to finish his check, apparently– leaving Johanssen alone to dive and poke the puck into the yawning net.

Devils 2, Rangers 1

That’s a great deflection by Zibanejad. Clearly learning from Kreider.

Rangers 2, Devils 2

What. A. Pass. Zuccarello is back. And a great finish from Zibanejad.

Rangers 3, Devils 2

Zibanejad made a nice play here, and Chris Kreider gets the goal, but Keith Kinkaid wants this one back.

Rangers 3, Devils 3

This time it was a Jimmy Vesey turnover that started all this. The Rangers never recovered, and Egor Yakovlev was there for the finish.

Rangers 4, Devils 3

These two are very good.

Shot Heatmap

Look at all that white space for the Devils. Yea they are pretty terrible, but you want to see that kind of shot heatmap consistently. Not many shots from in front, and not many shots in general. That’s two games in a row we’ve seen a heatmap like this. It’s against terrible teams, but I’ll take it!

The Rangers managed to close out January with a 5-7 record, despite starting the month with five straight losses and six losses in seven. It’s a quick turnaround for the Blueshirts, who are back home to take on Montreal tomorrow. The Blueshirts don’t have two days off in a row until February 17-18. It’s going to be a rough stretch. This is what happens when you look at the March calendar, not the February calendar.

"Zibanejad nets a hatty as Rangers top Devils", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.

60 thoughts on “Zibanejad nets a hatty as Rangers top Devils

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Great game by Zibby and Zucc, pionk has gotta go.

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Dominant game by Zib and his line. That 3rd goal by him was magnificent.

    Pionk is not a defenseman. He and Staal as a pair have one of the worst stats of any pairing in the league. But as long as neither one of them act out or do or say anything mean, then they will play together.

    Man, the Devs are bad.

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 8:07 am

      Rangers do not have any defenseman….Mr.Hank is the defense.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 8:53 am

        I get it your name is optimist however you’re a pessimist. You complain about the defense you’re probably actually saying that you’re proud about the defense because you’re saying the opposite of what you state. And don’t hate the goalie he’s doing great. I understand it’s reverse psychology.

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:55 am

          lmao yes…..Genius…true…….

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 10:01 am

          No true Ranger fan could ever hate Mr. Lundqvist….He is the NYRangers…….Imagine us not having Handsome Hank for all these years……..

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Giving up the two PP goals early on made me think I was going to watch a clunker of a game. When Z scored with very little time left in the first, that changed the entire complexion of the game. Coming back to tie, and then lead before they tied the score showed some character, and how stupid this guy behind the bench really is. Given a chance to play with quality forwards, Buch lifted his game, and DQ was made to look like an ass.

    I stand by my posts from yesterday regarding Buch, being a moody, and sometimes lazy kid, but if I had that kind of talent, and had to skate with boat anchors on my legs, I’d be upset as well. The play he made on the third goal by Z was a beauty to say the least. Maybe that’s what DQ wants from this kid, skating with Mc Loud, those type of results??? LOL… Along with the same theme, I was glad to see ADA play, even if it was the right side, he earned him playing time, unlike the Pionk kid. Man alive, the top pair we put out there night after night is terrible. I was glad we beat the Devils, but as I was reminded by Tanto, they will draft before us at this rate!!!!!!!

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 7:41 am

      The play he made on the third goal by Z was a beauty to say the least.
      Should have read he, and Zucc’s play…………

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 7:46 am

      I was glad to see ADA play, -another brain fart, having re-read the post, ADA didn’t play, and I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee……. Sorry folks!!!!!!

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:24 am

        It’s good you said it first Walt. 😉

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      The coach let Buch skate with better players only after earning the privilege. He started on the 4th line and actually came out and skated hard and was engaged in the game. That’s how you get moved up in the lineup. Earn it. Force the coach to play you more minutes. Play better. That’s what Quinn wanted to see out of him, he wasn’t playing that way on his own, so he got benched. He came back and responded well and got moved up.
      Development- noun- the act or process of developing; growth; progress
      The coach believes there is a certain level of play, or compete level, that needs to be met to play top 6 minutes , and Buch wasn’t cutting it. It doesn’t matter what line you put him on. It didn’t matter last night. He did what the coach had asked. He played better
      Stupid coach

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Great game for Zib and Zucc, Hayes and Kreider were excellent last night too. Forwards were pretty good across the board last night, but this defense….

    Pionk should be headed to Connecticut. Staal should be headed for the press box. They are beyond awful together, I’d be thrilled to never see Pionk in a Ranger uniform again. Against one of the worst teams in hockey, they could not compete. they couldn’t clear the D zone again and again. They couldn’t complete simple passes or handle the puck under forechecking pressure. They are totally lacking in physicality and defensive awareness. Pionk was directly at fault for 2 goals last night.

    For the life of me I cannot see why DeAngelo isn’t playing. They’re sitting him to play Pionk? It makes no sense unless it’s a deliberate tanking move.

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 7:55 am

      Maybe they are showcasing Pionk to put him on the block?????????? The kid is useless……….

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 8:08 am

        The headsman’s block? What block? He has zero value as a defenseman

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 8:24 am

          The headsman’s block, I like that. Brendan Smith can go there too, also a zero-value player.

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:05 am

          some team may need a puck moving d-man who sucks in his own zone……….

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:25 am

            Yep, in the AHL.

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 12:30 pm

            Some team must … hey we were stupid enough to sign Shittypants for 6.5 mil , just sayin

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:29 pm

        That has to be it; they have to realize what they have in him at this point. Let’s close our eyes and pray and hope for some more end to end goals to attract somebody…

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:48 am

      ADA was benched due to a “maturity” issue.
      I suspect he speared someone in the jewels again.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:20 am

        Ahh, I didn’t see that before posting earlier. Thank you.

        Tony D is an emotional guy…me and my fellow Italian guys sometimes let our mouths outrace our brains! ?

        He has to learn to keep that under control. I am glad that Quinn also praised his ability in the article. It reassures me that the coach is not writing the kid off like I feared.

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 10:27 am

      DeAngelo has been jerked around ever since coming to the Rangers. Perhaps it is Ruff who doesn’t want to play him?

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 10:37 am

      Yea bro, my boy ADA had to sit because of his dumb mouth – he knows better. He said something he knows was wrong on the bench – its an immaturity issue, and his teammates let him have it, too! He is growing and playing better than he has ever played in his career – btw, thanks to Quinn, not Ruff, but then he has to crap – needs be a team player, and grow up, his potential is off the charts, but his development as a team mate and young athlete needs nurturing.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:57 am

        I had not read Brooks’ article when I posted eariler, Thanks for the explanation.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm

        Any lip readers in the audience? lol

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Good morning Gents……As always it’s a pleasure to witness the Rangers defeating the swampers from jerrrseyyyyy…….Zibs was outstanding as was Zucs……Kreider was intimidating the rats all night long…did anyone see the devil that went flying into the net as a result of a Kreider nudge…..Kreider could be the strongest player in the league….an absolute rock of Gilbralter…..

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I don’t know what to make of this game. We had maybe 4 or 5 players playing their hearts out, while the rest of the team was along for the ride. Our defense is just atrocious, and it isn’t getting better anytime soon.

    I am not opposed to moving Zucc, Hayes and anyone who plays on our backend.

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

      I have a hunch, that I feel stronger about every day, that Hayes gets traded at the deadline and gets re-signed in the off season. I just think he badly wants to stay in NY, again just a hunch.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:58 am

        We don’t know what really goes on behind the scenes, but I would wager that if Panarin is truly interested and leaning towards NYR, I would hedge that Hayes will be resigned…and the rebuild will be short-lived….I fully expect the Rangers to be very active at the deadline and during the off-season.

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:28 am

      We only have 4-5 good players. That’s what you witnessed. This is year one of the re-build, they don’t happen overnight. It is a process. Anyone who thinks the Rangers should be better than they are right now doesn’t understand the concept of a re-build. You guys cry when the win ( Waaaa the Devils are going to draft ahead of us) and you cry when they lose ( waaa DQ is a terrible coach, making terrible decisions). Just relax, this is going to take some time.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:33 am

        I am talking about effort, not talent. Team needs to show more effort and heart, and also make better decisions. I can see why Quinn gets frustrated. Thinking Vesey should watch next game from pressbox

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:50 am

          Re: Vesey in pressbox—it’ll never happen, Vesey is from the right US zip code, as far as Chowder Quinn is concerned.

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 10:39 am

    At the risk of ruffling feathers re ADA and Buch, I have zero problem with Quinn sitting them or anyone else if they are unwilling to do what he wants them to do either on or off the ice. The fact is this is not a team in a playoff race. The point of hiring Quinn was to instill and develop a style of play in the younger players which emphasizes accountability and maturity. If the team was in a playoff spot these guys would be playing over others and their bad habits would continue. If they are a part of the future, and I think they are, then break the bad habits now. Regarding Pionk, he is not an NHL defenseman at this point and I’m not sure he ever will be, but he plays over others because he is working his ass off to do what the coach wants him to do. It’s not rocket science. Do what the coach wants you to do and do it with the right attitude. Ducking on 1, 2, 3….

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:44 am

      “I hired the contractor with the 547th-best safety record for building homes out of 550 contractors in my area, because he listens attentively to me when I make demands. His safety record is irrelevant, and even though he insists on building things with flammable material, because he works hard at doing things incorrectly I will respect that.”

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:16 pm

        Not an apt analogy MC… The fact is this team under Quinn has been outperforming expectations which was to be a lottery team (we can debate whether that’s good or bad another time). Nobody envisions this team to be a playoff contender. So what do you do when you know you are going to be sellers again and you are fielding a roster comprised of (at least)1/3 AHL caliber players (make that over 1/2 on defense). You hire a coach to instill a culture of accountability, hard work, communication, etc. I have no clue whether DQ will ultimately be a successful NHL coach. But this year, with this group, he has been successful for the most part. ADA, Buch, and assorted others have sat in the Quinn Bin for a reason. He is coaching, he is teaching, and he is holding guys accountable. As the roster/skill improves this college style of coaching will need to be adjusted. But right now I’ve got no problem with it. And he’s not the “547th” best coach in the NHL…

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:53 pm

          Not talking about Quinn but rather Pionk. Neal Pionk is legitimately part of one of the worst D pairings in the whole league. Despite ample evidence of massive suckitude Quinn keeps feeding him playing time.

          Deliberately hiring a shoddy contractor who does what you want instead of hiring the best person for the job is the exact metaphor here, sorry.

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:14 pm

            Ohhhh. My bad….?

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm

          I personally honestly never considered them a lock for the lottery – not so long as Kreider and Zibs are in the lineup and Hank in the net, regularly, anyway. If anything, the defense has somehow been even worse than I would have expected. With just even baseline competent play there, they might actually be pretty close to or on the bubble right now.

          Quinn has done nothing that I consider innovative or brilliant. He is holding SOME guys accountable, and so far seems to be prioritizing attitude over results. Not a big fan so far, but as I have noted I do with all coaches, I give a pretty long leash the first year. So, I’m not calling for his head or anything, of course. I will say that I have seen nothing from him that I think thousands of other hockey coaches out there couldn’t achieve, though. His style has been what I would have expected more from a retreaded Good Hockey Man mold vet coach – focused a bit too much on attitude, and playing lesser players because they are yes men and/or look like they are trying very, very hard…not a fan. Handle the off-ice stuff off the ice. Based on this game, Vesey should be sitting next game, and Pionk should be strapped to a rocket and launched into the sun. Not because they made a funny look or said something bold, but because they sucked ass on the ice.

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:53 pm

          Like egelstein, I did not expect the team to be awful, just not particularly good. I disagree with your relative ranking of the forwards and defense. I think the Ranger DO have enough NHL defensemen; they DO NOT have enough NHL forwards. The problem, to be overly simplistic, with the defense is that they have seven third pair guys (and the ridiculous Pionk). Up front, they are really being forced to play guys who belong in the AHL.

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 3:12 pm

            I think the forward group has decent enough depth. They’re trying to adjust away from the AV system to a system that in theory is less offensively-minded and doesn’t spring as many rushes. Also, this isn’t exactly the most complimentary group that Gorton has built. Little heavy on facilitators, little light on finishers. It is also noteworthy that Kreider is the only blazing speed source at the moment. They do still need to shoot more (not just a cliche), and they could definitely use another power forward or three zone type. It would probably help if the coach would make some better deployment decisions, as well – or at the very least, stop putting the lines in the blender so much.

            I firmly believe this defense would be the worst in the league with a borderline NHL level/replacement level goalie, on the other hand. No way for me to prove it, but goddamn they look so incredibly bad some nights.

            • Feb 1, 2019 at 4:51 pm

              I don’t see your comment on the defense is necessarily opposed to mine. Quite possibly, putting six third pair guys out there night after night would give you the worst defense in the league. And five third pair guys plus Pionk is even worse. And I don’t think the goaltending is that relevant. What Lundqvist has historically been good at is keeping the puck out of the net. He has not excelled in making the defense look good. so if you judge defense merely by goals against, Hank can be a plus, but when it comes to the eye test, Hank is no help.

              I maintain my position on forward depth. This is a mostly healthy group and Cody McLeod is playing, with no notable replacement in Hartford. People are griping about Buch on the fourth line precisely because the fourth line is so bad. I won’t argue against the notion that the Rangers have a more credible set of top six forwards than top four defensemen. But I don’t see that the Rangers can field an even moderately respectable fourth line and they have no safeguards against injury.

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      Excellent post. I’ll quibble a little, but it is only around the edges.

      Quinn has a tough job. It is hard to coach a team that cannot win. It is critical as you say that he maintain order. But he seems to be working too hard at it. If you keep having to bench the same players, they are not hearing you. Some guys just don’t listen, true – and even more on a struggling team – but DQ seems to be having problems with too many.

      I think Pionk is a big part of the problem. I doubt the other players are upset by Cody McLeod getting 5-8 minutes a night. It is minimal playing time and he is a proven NHL veteran (and no, I am not saying he is any good). But watching Neal Pionk, who seems to be showing that he is neither an NHL player nor an NHL talent, playing a large role has to wear on them. And it is not like there are not options in Hartford – both veterans Bigras, O’Gara, Gilmour – or kids like Lindgren.

      Marc Staal is simply not that bad. The Staal-ADA tandem was fairly decent. But Staal-Pionk is awful.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:29 pm

        I agree … and I have no issue with benching Buch here and there or even sitting him in the press box — same for ADA. HOWEVER it can’t just be about effort, or should I say “perceived” effort. Many a good player has been accused of not being consistent or not giving 100% every shift. Sometimes that’s justifiable, other times it appears to be a slightly biased and superficial observation.

        What irks me though is seeing a kid like Buch placed on a 4th line for games on end. He just doesn’t fit there — stylistically. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you can’t put a race horse in a harness to plow the fields and think he’ll be a better race horse.

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:37 pm

          Not an exaggeration at all – great analogy. I’ve made a similar point, although I believed I used a Ferarri as an example; that one should not expect a Ferarri to be good at hauling things and to do so is foolish…that may have been an exaggeration, haha. Maybe Buch isn’t THAT good. I like your analogy better! I worked a summer at the Saratoga horse track, and I can attest with full accuracy that never once were one of them trained with a plow! 🙂

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:45 pm

          I do not see why playing on the fourth line is that difficult. Certainly it is true that one expects a player to score less on a line with McLeod than with Kreider, but I see no reason why he cannot be equally relatively effective. Sure, you can’t put him on defense and expect him to clear the crease, but what we are getting is just playing wing in a hockey game. It’s not plowing fields. Players who are dangerous in the bottom six keep the opposition on their toes.

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:59 pm

            Buch is a facilitator. Always has been. He needs to be put with a finisher. Not Cody McLeod and ________ (AHL caliber C, pick any qualified name). If this was a prolific shooter or garbage goal specialist you are discussing, it probably wouldn’t be as big deal. It is though, because that’s not who we are talking about.

            The other problem is the minutes count. Practice is cool, but it’s not game time reps. Ideally, you want him getting the real-deal game reps as one of your better young players (that he’s not elite doesn’t change that hes one of the better ones in this group).

            Or, you can bench him or staple him to McLeod because he made a funny look, I guess. That said, Buch got decent enough minutes last night. Still would like to see him get more, but it wasn’t an insulting amount of minutes, at least. I guess Quinn liked the cut of Buch’s jib more in practice, or something else not to do with actual hockey skill or winning hockey games. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            • Feb 1, 2019 at 6:38 pm

              The Rangers won the Cup in 1994. Keenan’s recipes NOT to have a team of goons and dancers, but to have a team of hockey players. He even dumped Mike Gartner. When you describe Buch is a facilitator, you are classifying him as a dancer. When Zuccarello arrived, he was a facilitator. He became a very tough player on the boards.

              I will speculate Buchnevich is a very good version of the kind of player you don’t really need if you want to win the Cup. DQ is gambling that he can turn him into a more well rounded player.

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:07 am

    I have never seen the Rangers control the puck as much as they did last night. Boy those Devils are bad!!!

    On the upside, Zucc’s trade value keeps rising and Buch was able to wiggle a few toes out of the doghouse. It will be real interesting to see how JG plays his hand of Hayes, Zib, and/or Kreider at the trade deadline.

    At the risk of losing my thumbs up for this post, I am not sure if Kreider’s trade value (or output) will ever be as high as it is now. Very curious as to what he could bring back. Hayes and Kreider are the only players that could potentially have an overpaid underperforming Defensemen added to the trade. Fingers crossed!

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:17 am

      I just don’t understand the trade Kreider camp, he is a beast and will be great to have on a rebuilt team. These guys don’t grow on trees. He is just coming into his own. What is he gonna get you in a trade that will help the rebuild better than himself?

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:35 am

        I am not in the trade him camp. Simply suggesting we gauge his value in case we are blown away. With those physical attributes “coming into your own” after 8 years doesn’t exactly give confidence its repeatable. You never know if Colorado’s #1 would be dangled. We also need to find a way to rid ourselves of at least 1 of 3 Defensemen contracts in order to even consider everyone’s dream of resigning Hayes and adding Panarin. If we trade one and cut ties with another then we can handle 1.5 on the books.

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

          You want Ottawa’s 1st, not Colorado’s … if you’re trading Kreider who isn’t a pure rental then that needs to be the price they pay — that or their top prospect.

          This rebuild (I say renovation) can be pretty short if we play our cards right, keep Hayes, Mika and Kreider … try to sign Panarin or Stone, add Kravtsov and Shesty, subtract Zucc and either Namestnikov or Vesey, trade McQuaid, see if you can move Smith (even for a mid-rounder). That’s a plan that should have us competitive next year, maybe even a contender depending on what we can do with Defense … but I would be even more optimistic about 2 years down the road, especially if Chytil keeps developing as he should.

          Kreider is a beast, you can count on him keeping himself in tip top physical shape for years to come … Hayes is blossoming as well as Mika, right before our eyes. We’ve gone through all the trouble of developing these guys, let’s reap the benefit before we trade them — it’s premature.

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:48 pm

            I’m on the retain Hayes train as well – with the exception of if Kevin has told them he will test free agency regardless, of course. If not, ideally, Gorton could get the last two years with a ten team trade list. I fully understand the folks who are scared of him getting a full term NMC. Personally, I think it would be worth it to throw in a little more money as the trade-off to get him to accept the partial NTC the last two years, to have that insurance. Plus, it’s not like Hayes is a major family man who has put down big roots in NYC; he shouldn’t be THAT worried about getting traded for no good reason. Seriously though, for years the Rangers have been lacking a homegrown center who is above average…here he is, so let’s trade him for a bag of pucks? Don’t get it. If you get a haul, then absolutely go for it, of course. If he has said there is no way in hell he will extend before talking with other teams, well then you gotta do what you gotta do. Otherwise, no need to settle. He’ll fit into the rebuild just fine.

          • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:55 pm

            ^^^^ That right there is what I’m talking about..nice Tanto and Egel!

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

          Mr. Kreider, (Gibralter)…isn’t going anywhere……

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 9:48 pm

          Oh!, So sorry, didn’t realize you were referencing “pie in the sky”. Now I get it, HaHa

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:59 am

      While it might be nice to win the Cup in 2020 or 2021, that is probably unrealistic. What that means is that salary cap issues for those two years are not concerning. The only contracts that are relevant are Zib and Skjei and I sincerely doubt the Rangers want to dispose of those contracts at this time.

      What the Rangers need is talented players, not cap relief, and a Kreider trade (poor idea IMO) only makes sense if the Rangers maximize the talent they get back.

      • Feb 1, 2019 at 12:25 pm

        Your first and last sentence are the strongest arguments for why you trade Kreider now.

        • Feb 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm

          I was not addressing trading Kreider. My point was that you would likely get more for Kreider than Kreider + Smith and so you don’t include Smith in the trade just for meaningless cap relief.

  • Feb 1, 2019 at 11:44 am

    The only players worth keeping at this point are Kreids, Zbad, Cytil and Tony D……..

    • Feb 1, 2019 at 4:21 pm

      If someone wants to clearly overpay through the nose for anyone listed there, go for it. At the same time though, with the lack of depth in Hartford, plenty of other current Rangers are “worth keeping” – more than a bit extreme to say otherwise. Not like the farm is exactly stacked with guys kicking down the NHL door.

      Also, ADA is worth keeping, I agree…but don’t be surprised if they ship him out for a bag of pucks. Just because Quinn seemed to talk about moving forward in recent comments about why he was scratched doesn’t mean that’s sincere and/or Gorton feels that way, etc.

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