New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) is congratulated after he scored during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in New York.
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Mika Zibanejad and the New York Rangers take out the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3, at Madison Square Garden Friday night.

  • New York Rangers 5 (17-15-4, 38 pts)
  • Carolina Hurricanes 3 (22-13-2, 46 pts)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

A New York Rangers offense clicking like this—with Mika Zibanejad catching fire yet again—is a scary proposition for the rest of the NHL.

On Friday night at Madison Square Garden, Zibanejad tallied two goals and an assist while helping the Blueshirts to a much-deserved 5-3 triumph over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.

After surrendering the first goal just 5:15 into the first period, New York notched four unanswered, the first of which marked Zibanejad’s first of the night (16:31).

Chris Kreider, who earned No. 3-star honors, finishing with a goal and a helper, produced one of the better passes of his career.

That top line of Zibanejad, Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich combined for three of the team’s five tallies on the night. Obviously, the center wouldn’t feel right if he didn’t return the favor, and that’s exactly what he did in the second period.

Kreider knew how filthy a pass his teammate just executed and his display of teammate appreciation (backed up with impactful words) is tremendous evidence of just that.

Interestingly, the Rangers No. 1 center finished as the game’s No. 2 star. Artemi Panarin stole the top spot.

The Bread Man delivered yet again. Other than scoring the third goal on the night—one he found in a crowd of unaware players—his pass to set up Ryan Strome in the third period turned a tight 4-3 contest into a complete sigh of relief for the home team and entire building.

The Canes came out of the second intermission break on fire. A few flurries challenged the Rangers lead, but only one goal (Sebastian Aho’s 22nd goal of the season, at the 1:22 mark) was the only one to find the back of the net.

Henrik Lundqvist stood tall in net all night. Equipped with a newly-designed mask, Lundqvist stopped 39 of the Canes 42 shots on the night. The victory marks The King’s 33rd career victory against the Hurricanes as his dominance against the franchise continues.

The chance David Quinn leaves the building feeling great about his team’s overall game is slim. Allowing that many shots will always serve as coaching material, especially after a victory. But grabbing two points against an offensively-talented Carolina club is the far more important thought.

Next up for the Rangers will be the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night, a quick turnaround coming off a well-deserved victory.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]