Photo Credit: New York Daily News
With Shesterkin back between the pipes, the Blueshirts got off to a fast start thanks to the birthday boy Pavel Buchnevich. After the Devils tilted the ice early, Artemi Panarin sauced a perfect pass over to Buchnevich to give the Rangers the early 1-0 lead.
Photo Credit: bignewsnetwork.com
Photo Credit: San Diego Tribune
Gray hairs were growing on kids’ day at the Garden. Back-to-back goals from P.K. Subban and Yegor Sharangovich cut the Rangers’ lead to a skinny goal. The Rangers had relied on their offense in their 4-2-0 start against the Devils in this season where teams only play regional rivals. It was the Rangers’ young defense and goaltending that held off the Devils’ barrage in the final frame. Shesterkin made 10 saves on 12 shots while the defense came up with six blocked shots.
The defensive effort led to the ultimate birthday gift for Buchnevich. In the final minutes, Lindy Ruff pulled goaltender Aaron Dell for the extra attacker. Mika Zibanejad gift-wrapped a pass which Buchnevich deposited into the empty net to complete his first career hat trick. Another empty netter from Kreider sealed a 6-3 victory for the Boys in Blue.
Birthday hat tricks are a nice present to give yourself, but there is a greater gift Buchnevich could receive for his 26th birthday: a contract extension. Buchnevich has stepped up this season with 40 points in 44 games on 19 goals and 21 assists all while being a +13.
A restricted free agent at season’s end it would be wise of the Rangers to keep Buchnevich at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza for years to come. Let us not forget to give credit to coach David Quinn for Buchnevich’s development. Since Quinn took the helm in 2018, the 23-year-old left-winger has seen increases in ice time and points.
Photo Credit: blueshirtbanter.com
Wouldn’t you know it, Buchnevich’s birthday pixie dust spread to his line mate Mika Zibanejad, who was celebrating his 28th year around the sun. The fourth and final game was in Newark on Sunday with the Rangers looking for the sweep. With the game tied 3-3 with three minutes remaining Zibanejad snapped home a birthday goal of his own on the power play to lead the Rangers to a 5-3 victory.
The Rangers’ opponent those days? The Islanders, so any pre or post birthday heroics from Kreider would be crucial in helping the Rangers snag a playoff spot in the East Division.
George Whitbread may have Cerebral Palsy, but he does not let it slow him down in achieving his goals. George is a St. John’s University student studying journalism as an aspiring sports broadcaster. The Oceanside New York native began chasing his broadcasting dream back in high school when he did play-by-play and public address announcing for his school’s football and boy’s and girl’s lacrosse teams. At St. John’s, George is an active member in the school’s radio station, WSJU. With WSJU, George has two sports radio shows and frequently does play-by-play or color commentary for St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball and baseball.
George has been working for the New York Mets since 2016 as a member of the promotions staff. Last summer, George increased his role in the Mets organization when he took on a second job as a tour guide. It is George’s true love for the Mets and baseball that makes him love what he does. It is George’s dream to one day end up in a broadcast booth, but the Mets booth would be an extra special place to call home.