The New York Rangers completely dominated the Philadelphia Flyers this evening as they put nine goals on the board at Madison Square Garden. Mika Zibanejad had himself quite a night as he registered six points, including a natural hat trick all during the second period of play. Alexandar Georgiev, who had a relatively easy night, made a couple key saves early in the game and picked up a 26-save shutout.
Brendan Lemieux (2) - Adam Fox (14) & Brett Howden (4) - 7:05
Despite the Rangers missing their entire coaching staff on the bench, they controlled the early of the play in the first period, and were rewarded with a goal. Adam Fox just continues to impress with his puck awareness, and he was the driving force behind New York’s opening goal. Fox made a ridiculous side step move around Andy Andreoff at the blue line to open up space and carried the puck down low looking for a chance. Brendan Lemieux hit the open lane in coverage and he buried the crisp pass from Fox as he drove towards the crease.
Artemiy Panarin (7) - Ryan Strome (11) - 14:47
Just a little under eight minutes later, it would be the Rangers striking once again as they opened up a two-goal lead late in the period. Ryan Strome was able to force the Flyers into a costly turnover along the boards, and skated to the middle of the ice to create a makeshift 2-on-1 down low. Strome found Artemiy Panarin trailing the play behind him, and the Breadman delivered with quick one-timer from the left faceoff circle. Brian Elliott saved a pretty big chunk of the shot, but the power behind Panarin’s one-timer was enough to push it over the goal line.
Pavel Buchnevich (9) - Mika Zibanejad (9) - 1:38
Following a pretty dominating opening frame, the Rangers went right back to work and jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Mika Zibanejad was able to put pressure on Philippe Myers below the goal line and stripped the puck with relative ease. Philadelphia was caught on a partial change during the turnover and Zibanejad was able to quickly find Pavel Buchnevich wide open at the top of the hashmarks. Buchnevich had all the time in the world to pick his spot and snapped a shot under the arm of Brian Elliott.
Pavel Buchnevich (10) - Jacob Trouba (6) & Mika Zibanejad (10) - 3:38
Exactly two minutes after his initial tally, Pavel Buchnevich struck for the second time of the night with his tenth goal of the season. Jacob Trouba created the entire play with a great keep along the blue line, and fought off two defenders in the process. Trouba was able to move the puck over to Mika Zibanejad in open space, and he lofted an absolute dime of a pass to the front of the net. Pavel Buchnevich was in a perfect position to get his stick on the puck as it came towards the net, and he extended the Rangers lead to 4-0.
Jacob Trouba (1) - Mika Zibanejad (11) & Pavel Buchnevich (15) - 7:20
At this point in the game, the Flyers had all but burnt out on the defensive side the of the puck and Mika Zibanejad made them pay once again. Zibanejad was able to outwait four different Flyers sprawling in front of their own net, and found Jacob Trouba cutting through the middle of the ice. Trouba was able to catch the puck in stride and one-timed the puck under Brian Elliott to make it a 5-0 game.
Mika Zibanejad (4) - Unassisted SHG - 8:27
With Pavel Buchnevich stealing the spotlight early in the game, it was Mika Zibanejad’s turn to take it back and dominate the Flyers. Even though the Rangers were kill off a penalty, Zibanejad was able to force Ivan Provorov into make a quick decision at the blue line. Provorov wound up wiping out as he reached for the puck and that vaulted Zibanejad on a breakaway from his own blue line. Mika didn’t make a mistake with all the time he had and tucked the puck past Carter Hart, who came into the game in relief of Brian Elliott.
Mika Zibanejad (5) - Artemiy Panarin (17) & Ryan Strome (12) - 14:29
Two goals and four points for Mika Zibanejad pic.twitter.com/ih6W3VWRPt— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 18, 2021
It became almost comical at this point how atrocious the Flyers were playing in their own end, and they let Mika Zibanejad walked in untouched for his second of the night. Artemiy Panarin drew the attention of all four Flyers attempting to make a play on the puck, and fed a crisp pass into the open space. Zibanejad was able to catch the puck in full stride, danced around Carter Hart with a toe drag move and banked the puck in off of the crossbar.
Mika Zibanejad (6) - Chris Kreider (6) & Pavel Buchnevich (16) - 18:37
With Philadelphia all but down and out after allowing the previous six goals, Mika Zibanejad completed his natural hat trick at the 18:37 mark of the SECOND period. The goal would give Zibanejad his sixth point of the period, which tied Brian Trottier’s record in 1987 after he registered six points against the New York Rangers.
Filip Chytil (4) - Libor Hajek (1) & Alexis Lafrenière
As if eight goals wasn’t enough, the Rangers kept their foot firmly on the gas pedal and New York’s kid line finally got in on the action. Another odd-man rush into the offensive zone led by Alexis Lafrenière led to a chance in the middle of the ice by Libor Hajek. Filip Chytil was able to open up in a shooting lane off to the right of Carter Hart, and absolutely wired the pass home from Hajek.
Who would have figured that all it took for the Rangers to blow the doors off of the Flyers was to call up their AHL head coach? All jokes aside, the Rangers played easily their best game of the season bar none. They were able to grab a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, and then completely dismantled the Flyers throughout the second period. Mika Zibanejad finally had the appearance that we were waiting all season for, and in all honestly, it probably even surpassed our expectations by quite a lot.
After his six point performance tonight, we’ll see if this finally gets Zibanejad into a consistent rhythm as the Rangers sorely need him to be a constant producer. Following a completely dominating effort against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Rangers will have an off day tomorrow before returning to action on Friday against the Washington Capitals.