Mika Zibanejad recorded a hat trick just 32:07 into the game, and the New York Rangers spoiled the Ottawa Senators’ home opener with a 4-1 victory on Saturday night.
The ex-Senator Zibanejad, who had a goal with three assists in New York’s season-opening 6-4 win over Winnipeg on Thursday, had goals of the power-play, even-strength and short-handed variety, the last with 7:53 left in the second period, and also added an assist. According to Rangers stats and information, Zibanejad became the first Rangers player since Derek Stepan in 2014 to score in those three ways.
It was the third career hat trick for Zibanejad, who has seven goals in seven games against the team for which he played his first five NHL seasons.
Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist, Pavel Buchnevich recorded three assists and Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves for the Rangers, who improved to 2-0-0 for the first time since 2015-16. They also snapped a five-game skid at Ottawa.
Brady Tkachuk scored his second goal on the young season for the rebuilding Senators, who have allowed nine goals in losing their first two contests. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson stopped 26 shots as his five-game home winning streak against the Rangers ended.
With New York on the power play, Zibanejad put in an Anderson rebound of Jacob Trouba’s slap shot to give New York a 1-0 lead 6:04 into the game. Ottawa, though, tied it with 7:46 left in the first when Tkachuk, causing traffic in front of Georgiev, was credited with deflecting in Thomas Chabot’s laser.
The Zibanejad Show was on full display in the second period.
Off some impressive connect-the-dot passing with Buchnevich and Panarin, Zibanejad converted 9:53 into the period. He then completed the hat trick with just under eight minutes left in the second off a short-handed 2-on-1 with Lias Andersson, opting to keep the puck and going top-shelf on Anderson to make it 3-1. Brendan Smith earned the assist.
Zibanejad set up Panarin for his second of the season on the power play just 2:51 into the third. The Rangers, meanwhile, killed all five Ottawa chances with the man-advantage.
—Field Level Media