Now, with the contract behind him, Zibanejad must live up to the investment the Rangers made in him. With Derek Stepan, the de-facto top-line center for many years on Broadway, traded to the Coyotes earlier this off-season, Zibanejad will consistently face other team’s top lines and defense pairs, while receiving more ice-time, more responsibility at even-strength, power play and penalty kill, and with higher expectations to produce offensively, while proving capable of playing well defensively.
“I always want to improve, always want to evolve, take my game to the next level, that’s what I am working on,” Zibanejad told reporters on a conference call. “Even before signing, seeing Derek being traded was a little bit of an alert to me that I might get a chance to play a bigger role. As a player, you always want more responsibility…I am am super pumped.”
Acquired from the Senators last summer in a trade for Derick Brassard, Zibanejad suffered a broken leg which derailed his first season with the Rangers. However, he scored 14 goals and 37 points in 56 regular season games before stepping up to the lead the team with nine points in 12 playoff contests.
Fans packed Bridgestone Arena an hour before puck drop. They stood during warm-ups and chanted “Pekka! Pekka!” in support of their beleaguered goalie. When Jake Guentzel scored 2:42 into the game, a soft goal that could have rattled Rinne’s already fragile psyche, fans were back on their feet at the next commercial break for a boost.
Their chants, choreographed like a Premier League match, took aim at the Penguins from the introduction.
At the announcement of each players’ name, fans yell “SUCKS!” in perfect Green Bay Packer Cheap Jerseys harmony. Following a Predators goal, they’re quick to inform opposing goalie Matt Murray “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”
“I’ve said before, it’s a little bit similar to European soccer match Jerseys Supply where everybody is on the same page and knows exactly what to do and when to do it.”