EditorsNote: adds to end of fifth graf
Mika Zibanejad collected two goals and tied a career high with four points while Mats Zuccarello scored his first two goals of the season as the New York Rangers overcame a slow start to defeat the visiting Florida Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Zibanejad recorded three of his points in the second period — all on special teams when the Rangers turned a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.
Zibanejad became the first Ranger to get a short-handed goal and a power-play goal in the same period since Brandon Dubinsky on April 12, 2009, at Philadelphia.
He also recorded his ninth multi-goal game and recorded four points for the first time since Dec. 7, 2014, with Ottawa by winning faceoffs on Zuccarello’s tallies.
Zibanejad started the flurry by eluding Jonathan Huberdeau and tucking a wraparound by Florida goaltender Michael Hutchinson’s skate 3:10 into the second, tying the game 1-1.
A little over eight minutes later, Zibanejad picked up the secondary assist by winning the offensive zone faceoff from Juho Lammikko. The play ended with Zuccarello firing a wrist shot from the right circle over Hutchinson’s stick.
A little over 4 1/2 minutes after Zuccarello’s first goal of the second, Zibanejad struck again by flicking a wrist shot from the right circle over Hutchinson’s left pad.
Zuccarello scored his second goal 87 seconds into the third period, and Kevin Hayes added an empty-net goal with 51.9 seconds left as the Rangers matched a season high with five goals.
Backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves in his second appearance of the season and first since allowing seven goals at Carolina on Oct. 7. He made 13 saves in the opening period when the Rangers appeared a step slow and generated little offensively.
Vincent Trocheck scored a power-play goal late in the first for the Panthers, who have allowed 14 second-period goals in their past four games.
Mike Hoffman scored on a wraparound with 9:23 remaining in the third, but it was not enough as Florida allowed five goals for the fourth time this season.
Hutchinson was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots. James Reimer finished up for Florida and made two saves.
—Field Level Media