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game recap

Zibanejad's hat trick lifts Rangers past Devils

Zuccarello has three assists for New York, which is 5-2-0 in past seven

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Zibanejad records hat trick

NYR@NJD: Zibanejad notches second career hat trick

Mika Zibanejad scores in each period, including the game-winner in the 3rd, to complete a hat trick for the second time in his career

  • 01:27 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mika Zibanejad completed a hat trick with 4:36 left in the third period to lift the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday.

Zibanejad, who also had an assist, took a backhand pass from Mats Zuccarello in the slot and deked Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid before scoring on a backhand. It's Zibanejad's second NHL hat trick; the other came on Feb. 27, 2016, with the Ottawa Senators.

"Me and [Zuccarello] were out there for a while and he turned the corner and got some space from his guy and I tried to beat my guy to the net, and it was a great pass, as always," Zibanejad said. "You just have to get open with [Zuccarello] on the ice because he puts it right on the tape. I tried to make a move and get it up and it went in."


[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Devils highlights]


Chris Kreider scored, Zuccarello had three assists, and Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves for the Rangers (22-21-7), who have won five of their past seven games. 

"A couple of close calls the last couple of minutes, but overall, we played a really strong game and didn't give them much time in our end," said Lundqvist, who has won his past four starts.

Video: Clutch Performance: Zibanejad wins it with hat trick

Nico Hischier and Marcus Johansson each had a goal and an assist, Egor Yakovlev scored, and Kinkaid made 21 saves for the Devils (19-24-7), who have lost four of their past five games.

"They're a good cycle team, puck-moving team," Kinkaid said. "They get pucks to the net, they find an open opportunity, like they did for the fourth one, and they're going to capitalize with their best player. Zibanejad had opportunity after opportunity. He was their best player, especially on the power play."

Each team went 2-for-4 on the power play.

Video: NYR@NJD: Kreider breaks tie with quick snap shot

Hischier gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 5:10 of the first period, collecting a loose puck in the left face-off circle and scoring inside the right post.

Johansson made it 2-0 at 16:18, also on the power play. After Brian Boyle hit the post on a turnaround in front, Johansson dove toward the loose puck and poked it into an open net.

Video: NYR@NJD: Johansson pokes home PPG with superb effort

Zibanejad scored a power-play goal with two seconds remaining in the first period on a redirection in the slot to cut it to 2-1. 

"When we got down 2-0, we just kept playing," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "We weren't shooting the puck enough because we had zone time 5-on-5 but our penalty kill wasn't up to snuff. That goal at end of first was huge and maybe swung the tide."

Zibanejad tied it 2-2 with another power-play goal at 16:36 of the second period, beating Kinkaid with a snap shot from the left circle off a cross-ice pass by Zuccarello.

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Zibanejad gets second of career

"The way we're working, we're trying to use each other out there as much as possible, trying to use the things we're good at and implement that in our game," said Zibanejad about his line with Kreider and Zuccarello. "It's just clicking for us right now."

Kreider gave New York a 3-2 lead with a wrist shot from the right circle at 4:43 of the third period, but Yakovlev scored 53 seconds later following a turnover by Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey to tie it 3-3.


They said it

"I think back to earlier in the season when I thought [Zibanejad] was playing really well but wasn't getting rewarded statistically. He and I had a couple of conversations regarding that and we talked about how when goals come, they come in flurries, and they're coming at a snowstorm rate for him right now." -- Rangers coach David Quinn


"Anytime you lose in this League, it's frustrating. It's a rivalry game. We were excited for it and they were excited for it. There was some good energy in the building, but we just didn't find a way to do enough things to win." -- Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri


Need to know

Zibanejad, who has 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in his past seven games, is the first Rangers player to score a regular-season hat trick on the road at New Jersey since Kelly Kisio on Dec. 26, 1986. ... Zuccarello returned to the lineup after missing one game with a foot infection. He has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past six games. ... Lundqvist moved into eighth place in NHL history with 22,219 saves, passing John Vanbiesbrouck (22,203). ... Rangers center Brett Howden will be out 3-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. He was injured Tuesday in a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. ... The Devils placed defenseman Sami Vatanen (concussion) on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 28, and recalled defenseman Eric Gryba from Binghamton of the American Hockey League. ... New Jersey is 4-for-9 on the power play in its past two games. ... Johansson has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak.


What's next

Rangers: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, NHL.TV)

Devils: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Zibanejad records hat trick, assist in 4-3 win

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