Mika Zibanejad's OT Goal Gives Rangers Game 5 Win vs. Canadiens, Lead Series 3-2

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2017

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 20:  Brady Skjei #76 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal with teammates against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 20, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The New York Rangers are one win away from the second round of the NHL playoffs following a 3-2 Game 5 overtime triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at Bell Centre.

Mika Zibanejad played the role of hero and notched a game-winning goal with 5:38 remaining in overtime to give his side a 3-2 series lead following a scoreless third period. 

NHL on NBC provided video of the decisive goal:

NHL on NBC also joked about Zibanejad's mindset as he let the game-winner rip: 

Artturi Lehkonen and Jesper Fast tallied the game's opening goals for the Canadiens and Rangers, respectively, but it wasn't until the end of the first period that things really started to heat up. 

Specifically, Brendan Gallagher ripped a wrist shot from between the circles with the Canadiens up a man to hand Montreal a 2-1 lead entering the second period, as the NHL documented on Twitter: 

The Canadiens continued to operate as the aggressors throughout the second stanza, and they ripped off shot after shot thanks to two power plays within the frame's first four minutes. However, the Rangers killed off both to keep the margin at one, and that penalty-killing prowess paid off. 

With 1:32 remaining in the second period, Rick Nash jetted toward the net and set up Brady Skjei for a swift rebound tally that easily found its way past Carey Price to tie things at two: 

At that point, Blue Shirt Banter's Adam Herman noted Nash has been a scoring savant over his last couple postseason appearances:  

Zibanejad ultimately sealed the deal with his game-winner to steal the show, but goalkeeping shouldn't be overlooked.

Both Price and Henrik Lundqvist were locked in with 33 and 34 saves, respectively, and they repeatedly fended off shots throughout the third period to extend action and force an extra session. 

Lundqvist, in particular, stood out when he stoned Max Pacioretty on a breakaway midway through the third, as the team's official Twitter account documented: 

The scene will now shift back to Madison Square Garden for Game 6, which is scheduled to get underway Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. 

As things stand, history suggests the Rangers are in great shape. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau (via NHL.com's Sean Farrell), Game 5 winners with the series tied two games apiece in the best-of-seven format have advanced to the next round 78.1 percent of the time since 1953-54. 

 

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