What 5-year deal with Zibanejad means for Rangers

Can Mika Zibanejad be a No. 1 center on a Stanley Cup-contending team? The Rangers are banking that he can.

Zibanejad and the Blueshirts avoided arbitration Tuesday, agreeing to a five-year contract that will pay the 24-year-old pivot an average of $5.35 million per season, double what he made on his previous deal.

“It was something I was hoping was going to happen,” Zibanejad said of the long-term agreement. “I am super happy the deal got done and super happy to be staying in New York the next five years.”

It’s the first time Ottawa has been shut out since Feb. 24. And though the Senators have held the defending champions to two goals in two games, they find themselves all even as the series shifts to Ottawa for Wednesday’s Game 3.

“When Phil is emotional in the game, he’s into it, and he’s a threat out there,” Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said after making 23 saves in the shutout effort. “Again, tonight he came up big for us.”

Three stars

3. Craig Anderson, Senators — Anderson is expected to come through with the save on Kessel’s shot, but he otherwise made 28 saves in a pristine performance.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins — Fleury became the 12th goalie in NHL history to record 10 career postseason shutouts with his 23-save showing.

1. Phil Kessel, Penguins — Kessel now has 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) with a plus-10 rating in 14 games these playoffs.

The Senators are the feel-good story of the playoffs. Discounted against the Bruins in the first round and again upon drawing the Rangers, they’ve responded by going 6-2 in decisive fashion. It’s easy to forget Ottawa has held the home-ice advantage in both series. Coming off a pair of comeback victories, the sneaky Sens can put themselves on the brink of an Eastern Conference finals berth with more of Make Cheap Jerseys the same in La Galaxy Cheap Jerseys Game 3.

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