Boomer Esiason Reacts To Mika Zibanejad's 5-Goal Outburst: 'What A Game!'

Rangers Center Has A Night To Remember

Boomer and Gio
March 06, 2020 - 9:20 am

"What a game! What an absolute game!"

That was Boomer Esiason's reaction Friday, the morning after Mika Zibanejad scored five goals, including the game-winner, in the Rangers' 6-5 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals. 

"Five goals, five different ways, and he had a night that very, very few players have ever had in the history of the league," said Esiason, co-host of WFAN's "Boomer and Gio" show and passionate Rangers fan. "And he scored his fifth goal in overtime, a backhander, and the pass from (Artemi) Panarin was ridiculous."

And it wasn't just a spectacular performance by Zibanejad; it was also a meaningful win for the Rangers (36-27-4), who now sit just two points behind the Islanders for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

The Blueshirts had been one of the NHL's hottest teams over the past two months, but after losing goalie Igor Shesterkin and winger Chris Kreider to injuries, they stumbled, dropping three straight before Thursday night's victory.

"Even though they've had a rough go here as of late, last night just kind of shows you how resilient the team has been," Esiason said. "And it's unfortunate they gave up as many goals as they did, but, man, he (Zibanejad) was the first Rangers player to score four or more goals since 2011. Their power play has been unbelievable. The addition of Artemi Panarin has just been ridiculous.

"Here we are in March, and they're trying to make a push for the playoffs, which is something that I don't think anybody in the league thought would be possible -- and I still think it's going to be some heavy lifting here as they move forward 'cause they do have some very, very tough games."

While Zibanejad is the talk of the town and the NHL, Esiason also praised Panarin, who had three assists against the Capitals, including two on goals scored by Zibanejad. 

Esiason called Panarin "maybe the best free agent signing in Ranger history."

"This guy sees -- he's got eyes in the back of his head," Boomer said. "He plays like a point guard. He plays hockey the way that great point guards play basketball. And even though he's just a winger -- he's not a center -- but his ability to get the puck on his stick, keep the puck on his stick and then find an open man is amazing."

To listen to the open from Friday's "Boomer and Gio" show, click on the audio player above.