Zibane­jad in right place at right time for New York

Montreal Gazette - - SPORTS - HERB ZURKOWSKY

Ten min­utes into an over­time pe­riod that was to­tally dom­i­nated by the New York Rangers, Chris Krei­der, yet to score in this se­ries, had the win­ning goal on the blade of his stick — only to fan on a pass from Mika Zibane­jad.

And so, four min­utes later, it was likely po­etic jus­tice when Zibane­jad scored his first goal of the post-sea­son — coin­ci­den­tally, on a pass from Krei­der, who led the Rangers with 28 goals this sea­son.

“It’s a great feel­ing to get that win and to get that goal, per­son­ally. It was a lit­tle bit of re­venge from the last over­time,” said Zibane­jad, who scored 14 goals and 37 points in 56 games dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Krei­der’s cross-ice pass de­flected off the stick of Alexei Emelin. Zibane­jad, mean­while, was in be­hind de­fence­man Jordie Benn. He beat goal­tender Carey Price high to the stick side at 14:22. It was the first over­time goal of the Swede’s ca­reer.

“Krei­der came in and had some­what of a shoot­ing lane. I just tried to get to the net,” Zibane­jad ex­plained. “It took a for­tu­nate bounce for us. I just tried to whack it. When I saw it go in, I just blacked out. I can’t re­mem­ber much af­ter that.”

Al­though both teams pro­duced seven shots in the third pe­riod, there was a sense the Rangers were start­ing to take con­trol of the game. In­deed, half­way through the pe­riod, the Cana­di­ens were still seek­ing their first shot. In the 17th minute, Price made a nice pad save on Nick Holden.

The vis­i­tors con­tin­ued at­tack­ing Price in waves through­out the over­time, out­shoot­ing the Cana­di­ens 10-3. New York truly de­served to win this game.

“We weren’t happy with the start of the sec­ond pe­riod,” Zibane­jad said. “We turned a lot of pucks over on the blue-line. They were get­ting pucks deep and made us work for it. We had to do the same. We took over the last five or six min­utes of the pe­riod. The third was ours and over­time as well.

“It’s huge to get the win and it’s nice to do it. But at this point of the playoffs you don’t re­ally care who scores, just that you get the win. It’s a great feel­ing.”

For Rangers goalie Hen­rik Lundqvist, the game was a stark con­trast from the sec­ond match in Mon­treal that also was de­cided in over­time. That night, an ex­hausted Lundqvist faced 58 shots.

This game, how­ever, was dif­fer­ent. None­the­less, had Lundqvist not made a stick save on a Max Pa­cioretty break­away in the 13th minute of the third pe­riod, the teams likely wouldn’t have re­quired the ex­tra ses­sion.

“Ob­vi­ously if I didn’t make that save ...” Lundqvist said, not need­ing to com­plete the sen­tence. “I didn’t see a lot of ac­tion un­til then. When we went to over­time, we wanted to win this game — and we showed it. We pushed.”

Lundqvist said he doesn’t en­joy over­time, men­tion­ing how nerve-rack­ing it can be.

“I don’t know if it’s good for your heart,” he quipped.

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