Rangers' Zibanejad scores 5 goals in historic performance vs. Capitals

Thomas Williams
Hockey writer
Mika Zibanejad is up to 38 goals on the season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Where were you when Mika Zibanejad became the greatest goalscorer in NHL history?

The Rangers forward buried five goals against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, cementing his name into New York sports lore.

With four goals in regulation, the 26-year-old capped off his historic night with an overtime goal for the ages.

New York earned its 6-5 OT win and has broken out of its recent three-game losing streak.

After catching a stretch pass from Artemi Panarin below the Rangers’ blue line, Zibanejad swiftly avoided the Capitals’ backcheck and was able to stickhandle his way around goaltender Ilya Samsonov, finishing the game off with a smooth backhand finish.

New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad submitted a performance for the ages against the Washington Capitals. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Before Thursday’s game, Zibanejad recorded 33 goals on the season. With 38 goals, he’s now fifth in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Not only was Zibanejad able to score an unbelievable amount of goals in a single game, he popped them in through a variety of ways.

Each one was special in its own unique way.

Zibanejad is just the third player in the Rangers’ 94-year history to score five goals in a single game. Mark Pavelich was able to complete the feat back in 1982-83 and Don Murdoch scored five during the 1976-77 season.

This also marks the first time a player has scored five goals since Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine netted five in November 2018. Since 1996, only Laine, Zibanejad, Johan Franzen and Marian Gaborik has been able to score five goals in a single game.

Unlike the past five-goal Rangers, Zibanejad’s performance as of late has been leading up to a moment like this. Since the All-Star break, Zibanejad has scored 16 goals, three more than anyone else in the entire league.

Zibanejad’s hot streak influenced his team to do the same and suddenly the Rangers find themselves ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes in the standings.

With Artemi Panarin playing like a Hart Trophy candidate and Zibanejad scoring on a whim, the Rangers could make a real push for the playoffs after all.

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