New York Rangers need Mika Zibanejad to take charge of this series

May 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers quarterback Mika Zipanegad (93) chases a puck ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins defensive line John Marino (6) during the third inning in Game 4 of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins won 7-2. Mandatory credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mika Zibanijad has been very quiet in this series so far. Despite being a 1 point player during the regular season, he only collected 4 points (all assists) in 5 playoffs.

With the Pittsburgh Penguins playing without Sidney Crosby, it’s time the #1 New York Rangers found it. Mica Magic That earned him an 8-year contract extension worth $8.5 million per season.

No longer bearing the burden of confrontation against Crosby, the Rangers need him more than ever to assert themselves.

New York Rangers need Mika Zibanijad

Simply put, there is no denying that Crosby’s streak was completely destroying the Zepanijad unit every time they were on the ice.

Crosby, who will not play in the sixth game, has 9 points in the series. His teammates Brian Rost have 6 points and Jake Goentzel has 8 points, including 7 goals.

In contrast, Mica has 4 points while Chris Kreider, who led the team with 52 goals during the regular season, has 2 goals and 4 points in total. Frank Vatrano scored 2 goals and made 3 assists.

“I think we did not create enough insult,” Zeibanijad said of his streak. “We are very concerned about the streak we are playing against. In general we try to work through it. He is not an easy opponent and we try to play our game.”

Whether Micah admits it or not, at least matching the streak is a little easier without Crosby.

That’s not to say the Rangers first line can spend a night on defense, but without one of the game’s best offensive players of the past decade, they’re unlikely to get burned due to some amazing setup.

Make them worry about you

Mika Zibanjad
April 29, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanijad (93) speaks to the media after their 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a great season for 29-year-old Zebani Nejad.

In 81 matches, Mika achieved the highest level of his career with 81 points. Chris Kreider also helped unlock the possibility of his goals reaching 52, including 26 strong marks to play. Frank Vatrano’s takeover on the trading deadline fits in perfectly with asking questions first later.

“We still need to play our game and do the things we’ve been doing all year,” Mika admitted heading into Game 6. “It’s something I’m constantly trying to remind myself to play my game and worry about what we’re doing on the snow.”

And that’s the job once they take their first shift – make the penguins worry about them.

All three players can skate, so there’s no excuse not to go back deep into the defensive zone and get out of it cleanly. They should still be able to generate enough speed outside their zone to be a threat without letting Igor Shesterkin and his men of defense dry up.

“I enjoy the challenge and the intensity of qualifying,” Zibanjad added.

Well, the challenge is to bring this series back to Garden for Game 7 and it’s time for Mika to lead the way.

Jacob's oven

NYR vs Penguins schedule

GM 1: 4-3 Penguins (3 OT) 7 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, ESPN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 2: 5-2 Rangers 7 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 3: 7-4 penguins 7 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 4: 7-2 Penguins 7 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, ESPN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 5: 5-3 Rangers 7 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
GM 6: Friday 5/13 @pit 7 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS)
GM 7: Sunday 5/14 NYR to be announced later on To be announced
NYR in PIT schedule RD 1
PIT Leads 3-2 . ​​Series

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