Birthday Boy Backstops Rangers To Impressive Win Over Leafs

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Following Friday night’s loss to the Hurricanes, the Rangers came out with authority as they hosted the star-studded Toronto Maple Leafs. And thanks to a monumental performance from birthday boy Alexandar Georgiev, the Blueshirts were able to send the patrons at MSG home with a smile.

Mika Zibanejad – David Quinn’s top trio of Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad got the game started with a bang as the three forwards combined on the first goal of the game. After a measly 28 seconds into the opening frame, Zibanejad pounced on a loose puck and beat Toronto netminder Garret Sparks for the early 1-0 advantage.

Zibanejad continued his stellar season tonight as we’ve seen the young center improve day after day under head coach David Quinn. Zibanejad now has 23 goals on the season – just four off of his personal best – to go along with a career-high in both points and assists.

Jimmy Vesey – The Maple Leafs tied the game following a bad turnover by Tony DeAngelo, but Harvard alumnus Jimmy Vesey scored to regain the Rangers’ one-goal lead. Just as Chris Kreider stepped out of the box, Kevin Shattenkirk led the rush and dished to Kreider, who then found Vesey for a gorgeous goal. The goal was the 12th of the season for the winger, who is now just two points shy of his career-best in a single season.

Adam McQuaid – The rugged defenseman made two hits and blocked three shots, but it was his goal in the third period that allowed Rangers fans to breathe heading into the final eight minutes of regulation. The Blueshirts were able to keep the puck in the zone thanks to Mats Zuccarello, and McQuaid fired a seeing-eye wrist shot behind Garret Sparks to give the Rangers a two goal cushion.

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McQuaid is likely on his way out of town as playoff contenders will look to add some size and experience on the blue-line before the NHL Trade Deadline. That being said, we’ve seen some of McQuaid’s best hockey in the Rangers sweater over the last few weeks, which will only enhance his trade value.

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Alexandar Georgiev – As great as the offensive production was, tonight belonged to Alex Georgiev. The rookie goaltender from Belarus stopped 55 shots – 23 of which while the Rangers were shorthanded – to propel the Blueshirts to victory. You only turn 23 once, and Georgiev made it a night to remember.

Next Game: The Rangers return to action on Tuesday night when they head to the Bell MTS Place to face the Winnipeg Jets. Puck drops at 8!

LETS GO RANGERS!!