rangers capitals mika zibanejad

What a way to welcome back New York Rangers hockey after the holiday break. The power play continued to produce, Igor Shesterkin is back in form, and scoring depth reigned supreme. The Rangers beat the Capitals in a full team win, dominating from start to finish.

An extremely low-event first period for both teams was expected as they dealt with the holiday hangover, but then the Rangers offense exploded. After surrendering the first goal to the Capitals, the Rangers went for five straight, including three in the second.

This is the year for milestone games as Mika Zibanejad skated in his 800th NHL game, his 518th with the Rangers. Through the ups and downs of his Rangers tenure, Zibanejad is a true 1C for the Rangers. He has eclipsed 80 points in each of his last 2 seasons, and will again this season. Zibanejad is on pace for another 30 goal season as well.

Chris Kreider justifiably gets a ton of attention for his time in the organization and the records that he is breaking, but players like Kreider don’t get there on their own. Zibanejad is writing his own name into the Rangers history books with his career on Broadway.

In net, it appears Igor Shesterkin’s play has leveled out. For the first time in a long time, the Rangers have a stellar team defense strategy to go with elite level goaltending. Shesterkin was solid early when he needed to be, and when the game was out of reach he made some great flashy saves like the Igor of “old”.

Last but not least, K’Andre Miller had himself a great hockey game, hopefully silencing some critics. His three point night –including a pair of goals– highlighted his incredible athletic ability and stability at even strength. With Jacob Trouba injured in the 2nd period, Miller stepped up and filled that gap.

Miller is not perfect and there are blemishes in his game, but his ability to get in on the offense and have the ability to skate hard on the back check and break up as many opportunities as he does makes for an incredible defenseman.

Overall, a solid team win to cure the holiday hangover.


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