Mika Zibanejad Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Mika Zibanejad had a strong week of offense.

What a week this was for the New York Rangers. They were incredibly busy, playing four games, but also made some history.

On Friday night, the Rangers raised the great Henrik Lundqvist’s number 30 to the rafters, prior to their game against the Minnesota Wild. While that was a historic and unforgettable night, the Rangers didn’t look as great this week as they have lately.

They beat the Los Angeles Kings in an exciting shootout, but went on to lose the next two games. They blew a 2-0 lead against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had given up 62 shots on goal to the Calgary Flames the night before, and lost the game.

This was the first time all season that the Rangers lost a game in regulation to a team that wasn’t in a playoff position.

Star defenseman Adam Fox was injured during play and subsequently placed on IR, meaning he would miss the Rangers remaining games before the All-Star break and won’t be able to attend his first All-Star Game.


“Lundqvist Night” didn’t go much better for the Rangers. They blew a 2-0 lead, again, and when it looked like they had tied the game in the final seconds, the goal was called off.

The Rangers did rebound somewhat on Sunday against the Seattle Kraken. They won the game and got their three points, but played poorly and are lucky this effort came against one of the absolute worst teams in the league.

Even head coach Gerard Gallant said that he was extremely disappointed with the way his team played.

Although this week wasn’t the best the Rangers had to offer, several players did well, especially the forwards. The top-six, in particular, stood out and Mika Zibanejad was the best of them all.

(Check out last week’s player of the week and honorable mentions here.)

Player of the week: C Mika Zibanejad

@ CBJ: 1 G
vs. MIN: 1 A
vs. SEA: 1 G, 2 A
Average Game Score: 1.71
Average defensive impact: 0.50

Zibanejad seems to make it on here every week lately and we’re running out of things to say. He continues to play out of his mind and was excellent in practically every regard this week. Zibanejad was a point machine, but also played incredibly well defensively.

He was the team’s second-best player against the Wild and the best against the Kraken, his best game of the season. Zibanejad has been showing off his abilities as a top-tier two-way forward as of late and has even improved significantly on faceoffs.

Zibanejad has been a key to victory in most of the Rangers’ recent wins and the fact that he’s been so consistent is encouraging.

Honorable Mention #1: W Artemiy Panarin

vs. LAK: 2 A
@ CBJ: 1 G, 2 A
vs. SEA: 1 A
Average Game Score: 1.36
Average defensive impact: -0.24

After a few weeks off, Panarin is back as one of the Rangers’ top guys. This isn’t something we should be surprised to see. He’s having somewhat of an off year but is still averaging well over a point per game.

Panarin had an eventful week. He was a top-four player in three of the Rangers’ four games, including the best against the Kings and second-best against his former team, the Blue Jackets, his third-best game of the season.

His defensive performance this week doesn’t come as a surprise. Panarin has been shocking in his own zone all season, possibly worse than he’s ever been.

He actually did well defensively against the Kraken and his defensive impact of 0.50 in that one is his best in quite some time. Fortunately, Panarin is so elite that his poor defense isn’t something anyone holds against him.

Additionally, Gallant felt like experimenting with Panarin this week and had him get some looks on the right wing.

It was good to see Panarin have such a strong week and the Rangers are going to need productive weeks like this from their superstar if they hope to go far.

Honorable Mention #2: W Chris Kreider

vs. LAK: 1 G
vs. MIN: 1 G
Average Game Score: 1.20
Average defensive impact: 0.51

Like Zibanejad, we’re running out of things to say about Kreider. He scored his 30th goal of the season against the Kings, the first time he’s ever reached that milestone, and currently leads the NHL with 31 goals and 15 power play goals.

Kreider was a top-three player for the Rangers three times this week, including their best against the Wild. A severely underrated aspect of Kreider’s game this season has been his defense, which he put on display this week.

He was excellent in his own zone in each game and has arguably been the team’s most valuable two-way forward.

Kreider also showed off his newfound versatility this week, spending time on both wings.

What a year this man is having.

Honorable Mention #3: RW Barclay Goodrow

vs. LAK: 1 G
@ CBJ: 1 G
vs. MIN: 1 G
Average Game Score: 0.89
Average defensive impact: -0.48

For the second time this season, Goodrow is an honorable mention. Playing in the top-six is doing him well. Goodrow scored a goal in three consecutive games this week and has set a new career-high in goals already with 10, so far.

Goodrow was a top-three player for the Rangers twice this week, and the only blotch on his performance was his very poor defense.

Contrary to most of his career, Goodrow has been poor defensively in his inaugural season with the Rangers. This was a very uncharacteristic week from him: strong offense and lots of goals, but very poor defense.

Panarin and even Ryan Strome have been quite poor in their own zone lately, so it’s only natural that Goodrow is no different (arguably even worse).

Even so, Goodrow had a great week and, although it hasn’t been all good since he joined the team, it’s relieving to see him do so well in the top-six.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.