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Hartnett: Lack Of Consistency Is Only Thing Holding Zibanejad Back

May 19th, 2017 at 8:06 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

By Sean Hartnett
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Mika Zibanejad showed flashes of brilliance during an injury-hit debut season with the Rangers. There was plenty of evidence of his high-ceiling potential, but it was very much a learning season for the 24-year-old center.

A broken left fibula sustained on Nov. 20 at Madison Square Garden caused Zibanejad to miss 25 consecutive games. When he returned to the lineup in mid-January, it took time for the Swede to rekindle his scoring touch after he began his Rangers career with a robust 15 points in 19 games. Zibanejad went 15 straight games without a goal between Jan. 19 and Feb. 23.

He admitted that he was “overthinking” and not playing on impulse during the goal drought. An overtime winner against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 25 seemed to spark his play. Zibanejad finished the final two months of the regular season with 13 points in 19 games. He closed out the regular season with 37 points in 56 games, an average of 0.66 points per night a slight bump up from his 0.63 average during his final season in Ottawa.

Mika Zibanejad

Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad, left, screens Senators goalie Craig Anderson during Game 2 of the teams’ second-round playoff series, on April 29, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Once the playoffs rolled around, Zibanejad struggled early in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens. Game 4, …

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Tags: Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers, NHL, Rangers, Rangers stats, Sean Hartnett, Sports, Syndicated Sports, Syndication, WFAN Blogs

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