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Hockey Daily Dose

Is Quinn the reason for the play of Zibanejad?

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: March 29, 2021, 11:08 am ET

You have to wonder if it is David Quinn.

Mika Zibanejad just can’t score with Quinn behind the bench this season.

Zibanejad, who had an amazing season last year with 41 goals and 75 points in just 57 games, got off to a horrible start this season with three goals and 11 points in 27 games.

Then came March 17 and Quinn was not allowed behind the bench, along with most members of the Rangers coaching staff as they were in COVID protocol.

And Zibanejad exploded!

He had a hat trick and three assists that night, another three goals and six points eight nights later and had points in five of six games, giving him 16 points in the six games that Quinn was away from the bench.

And then Sunday afternoon, Quinn was given the okay to go back behind the bench.

And voila! No points for Zibanejad.

Now it is likely a coincidence but you never know. Sixteen points in six games versus 11 points in 28 games with Quinn in the arena.

Just sayin’.

There were six games played in the NHL on Sunday.

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WASHINGTON 5 NEW YORK RANGERS 4

Tom Wilson scored twice to lead the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers and regain sole possession of first place in the East Division, two points up on the idle New York Islanders.

After a scoreless first period, the Capitals exploded for three in the second with Alex Ovechkin’s 11th goal in his last 11 games sandwiched between the two Wilson goals.

Ovechkin has been red-hot of late after a weak start to the season and is up to 18 goals, just four behind the NHL leader, Auston Matthews.

The third period was a wild one with New York outscoring Washington 4-2 to make it a hockey game.

Colin Blackwell celebrated his 28th birthday with a pair of third period goals after Evgeny Kuznetsov made it 4-0 Washington but T.J. Oshie made it 5-2 before rookie Alexis Lafreniere with his fifth and Chris Kreider with his 17th, made it close with less than four minutes to go.

It was not exactly a goaltender’s battle as Ilya Samsonov gave up four goals on 20 shots but got the win. He is 8-1-1 with a 2.39 GAA and a .908 save percentage.

Meanwhile Keith Kinkaid gave up five goals on 22 shots in taking the loss. This could be it this season for Kinkaid with Igor Shesterkin back in action after missing three-plus weeks with a groin injury and Alexandar Georgiev as his likely backup. Kinkaid is 3-2-1 with a 2.61 GAA and a .891 save percentage.

Adam Fox continued his outstanding play of late as he had a pair of assists to stretch his scoring streak to seven games. He has a goal and 14 points in the streak, giving him three goals and 26 assists this season.

Oshie, Dmitry Orlov and Kevin Rooney also had a pair of helpers.  

DETROIT 4 COLUMBUS 1

The Red Wings completed a rare weekend sweep as they upended the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time in two days with a 4-1 win.

Calvin Pickard started both games for the Red Wings, giving up only two goals on 39 shots, including 16-of-17 saves in Sunday’s tilt, to give him a 2-0-0 record with a 2.12 GAA and a .904 save percentage. Pickard has started only the last two games but came on in relief in early February as well as Thursday but was not saddled with a loss.

Evgeny Svechnikov scored the only goal of the first period and Jack Roslovic replied in the second for Columbus to even the score at one, with his sixth of the season.

It was all Detroit in the third, at least on the scoresheet as Michael Rasmussen scored his first of the season while Filip Hronek and Vladislav Namestnikov each scored into the empty net to clinch the contest for Detroit.

The losses really put the Blue Jackets behind the eight-ball as far as the playoff race is concerned as they remain in sixth place, with 34 points as they have only 20 games left in the season.

Elvis Merzlikins got the start in goal again for Columbus, giving up two goals on 27 shots. He is 5-5-2 with a 2.86 GAA and a .913 save percentage this season.

Anthony Mantha had a pair of minors.

Bobby Ryan was forced to leave the game with an upper-body injury after the opening period and did not return.

ANAHEIM 3 ST. LOUIS 2 (Overtime)

Josh Manson’s first goal of the season capped a furious comeback as the Anaheim Ducks spotted the St. Louis Blues a 2-0 first period lead and roared back to beat them 3-2 in overtime.

Ryan O'Reilly started things off for the Blues just 2:27 into the first period with his 12th of the season and Vladimir Tarasenko made it 2-0 with a power play goal. Tarasenko had a hand in O’Reilly’s goal and has two goals and seven points this season in 11 games.

Cam Fowler scored the only goal of the second period to cut the Blues lead in half and Adam Henrique, with his 10th of the season, tied the game at 2, early in the third, setting up Manson’s heroics. Henrique was placed on waivers this season after 16 games when he had three goals and an assist. No one picked him up and he has seven goals and 12 points in the 16 games since he passed through waivers.

Anthony Stolarz picked up his first start of the season Sunday and stopped 38-of-40 shots for the win. He is 1-0-0 with a 2.36 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

Jordan Binnington made 21 saves in taking the overtime loss. He is 10-10-6 with a 2.78 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

The Blues are fighting for their lives in the West as they are currently fourth, just a point up on Arizona and six ahead of the Kings who have three games in hand.

Max Jones had two assists for the Ducks, giving him three in 2020-21.

Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each had four shots on goals and five hits.

Jake Walman led both teams with six shots on goal.

NEW JERSEY 1 BOSTON 0

Mackenzie Blackwood was sensational in stopping all 40 shots as New Jersey defeated Boston 1-0.

It was the second time in three weeks that the Devils shut out the Bruins 1-0 with the New Jersey goaltender making 40 saves. The first time was on March 7 when Scott Wedgewood pulled the trick.

Blackwood picked up his first shutout of the season and sixth in his NHL career as he upped his record to 9-9-1 with a 2.82 GAA and a .911 save percentage.

Kyle Palmieri with his seventh of the season, tipped a Ty Smith shot past Jaroslav Halak in the first period for the lone goal of the game as the Bruins thought they had tied it up with 1:10 left in the game but had the goal overturned by goaltender interference.

Halak made 28 saves and took the loss. He is 7-5-3 with a 2.17 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

David Pastrnak and P.K. Subban each had six shots on goal.

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FLORIDA 4 DALLAS 1

Jonathan Huberdeau had a huge game with a pair of goals and an assist to lead Florida to a 4-1 win over Dallas and a sweep of their weekend series.

It was a costly loss for the Panthers who lost Aaron Ekblad, their top scorer on the blueline, for an extended period of time and possibly for the rest of the season after he landed awkwardly in the second period and grabbed his knee. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and did not return.

The Panthers seem to be back on track after the pair of wins as they had previously lost the previous four of five games.

Anthony Duclair scored on a penalty shot while Owen Tippett scored into the empty net to clinch the win.

Chris Driedger was great in net, turning aside 33-of-34 shots in picking up his ninth win of the season. He is 9-4-2 with a 2.19 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

Jason Robertson gave the Stars an early 1-0 lead with a power play goal, his sixth goal of the season. Robertson has been hot of late with two goals and eight points in his last eight games and he has 21 points in 27 games this season.

Miro Heiskanen had seven shots on goal for Dallas.

Riley Stillman and Denis Gurianov fought in the third period with each getting five for fighting.

NASHVILLE 3 CHICAGO 2

Roman Josi’s third goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie and moved the Predators into fourth place in the Central with a win over Chicago. Both teams are tied with 37 points in 36 games but Nashville gets the edge as they have 13 regulation wins and two more in overtime while Chicago has only 10 wins in regulation and four more in overtime.

It was Nashville’s fifth straight win and you have to wonder if they are now going to be buyers at the trade deadline rather than sellers.

The Predators took a 2-0 lead out of the first period on goals by Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok, who was the first star of the week last week, potted his 10th of the season.

There was no scoring in the second period but in the third, Alex DeBrincat scored a pair to tie the game at 2. The second goal was DeBrincat’s 18th of the season in only his 32nd game after he scored just 18 last season but in 70 contests.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 27 shots for the win. The 38-year-old picked up his second start in almost two weeks as Juuse Saros had taken over the net, and won his third straight, moving his record to 9-11-1 with a 3.02 GAA and a .900 save percentage.

Malcolm Subban gave up three goals on 31 shots to go to 4-5-1 with a 3.14 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

Pius Suter assisted on both goals by DeBrincat.  

Colton Sissons had six hits.

NIGHTLY LEADERS

Goals

Colin Blackwell – 2

Tom Wilson – 2

Jonathan Huberdeau – 2 

Alex DeBrincat - 2

Assists

Adam Fox – 2

T.J. Oshie – 2

Dmitry Orlov – 2

Kevin Rooney – 2

Max Jones – 2

Pius Suter - 2

Shots on Goal

Miro Heiskanen – 7

Jake Walman – 6

P.K. Subban - 6

David Pastrnak - 6

Hits

Colton Sissons – 6

Vladimir Tarasenko – 5

Brayden Schenn – 5

Esa Lindell - 5

Penalty Minutes

Denis Gurianov – 5

Riley Stillman - 5

Anthony Mantha – 4

Yakov Trenin – 4

Janne Kuokkanen - 4

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.