Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello each scored two goals, and the Rangers cruised to their first regulation win of the season, 5-2, over the Florida Panthers Tuesday night at The Garden. Zibanejad, who also had two assists, had the first four-point game of his career.
Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves for his first win of the 2018-19 series.
After scoring only 18 goals in their first 8 games, the five goal by the Blueshirts matched their season-high.
Coach David Quinn moved Zuccarello up to the top line, with Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, for the game, and Zuccarello responded with his first two goals of the season.
After trailing 1-0 at the end of the 1st period, the Rangers came alive in the 2nd period. Zibanejad scored a shorthanded goal at 3:10, on a wraparound, to tie the game, 1-1. Then Zuccarello scored his first goal of the season, a power-play goal, at 11:36, to give New York a 2-1 lead. Zibanejad got a power-play goal of his own at 16:08, a wrist shot from the left face-off circle, that made the score 3-1. It was Zibanejad’s 5th goal of the season.
In the 3rd, Zuccarello’s goal just 87 seconds into the period made it 4-1.
Vincent Trocheck had the first Florida goal. Mike Hoffman‘s wraparound goal at the 10:37 mark of the 3rd made it 4-2. Kevin Hayes was credited with an empty-net goal with 52 seconds to go for the final 5-2 margin.
Neal Pionk had two assists, and now has six assists in the last three games.
The Rangers [now 3-5-1, 7 pts] begin a four-game road trip Thursday night in Chicago.