3) Mika Zibanejad vs. Montreal
Zibanejad established himself as an offensive catalyst for the Rangers this season, despite missing two months with a broken leg. He scored big goals, including two overtime winners against Tampa Bay and New Jersey. With a healthy leg and an impressive playoff performance under his belt, Zibanejad looks to be an important piece in New York for years to come.
But most importantly, Zibanejad sealed his reputation as a clutch overtime performer in April. He scored perhaps the biggest goal of the year for the Rangers, finishing a broken play from Chris Kreider to get the Rangers up 3-2 over Montreal in their first-round series.
The play started in the neutral zone, with the Rangers coming up ice with speed. Kreider broke into the Canadiens’ zone before attempting a shot on net. His shot came off the heel of his stick, though, and deflected off of Alexei Emelin’s blade. Zibanejad snuck in behind the play and elevated the puck over a helpless Carey Price, giving the Rangers the win.