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SLY WILLIAMS
04-25-2013, 10:42 AM
The eighth-place Rangers can lock up one of the two remaining Eastern Conference playoff spots with either a win against the Hurricanes or Saturday’s season-finale against the visiting Devils. Or, the Rangers can back in if the ninth-place Jets lose in regulation in their season-finale tonight against the visiting Canadiens.

And if there was one positive that came out of Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the NHL-worst Panthers, as the Rangers blew a chance to clinch a playoff spot, it was Mats’ Zuccarello’s performance.

The 5-foot-7 Norwegian had two shots and four hits with an assist in 21:06 against the Panthers and, honestly, was the only Ranger who appeared to play with a consistent energy level all game. He was motoring up the ice and it was his effort skating and stickhandling that created Taylor Pyatt’s goal to make it 1-1.

Zuccarello now has three goals and four assists in his second tour with the Rangers after playing in the KHL this season. The Rangers chose to let him go after he spent the previous two seasons in the organization shuttling between the NHL and AHL.

Coach John Tortorella has mentioned several times he believes Zuccarello is faster this time around and in better shape.

“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Zuccarello said. “I get that question a lot and it’s hard to answer. I think the main thing is confidence. From Day 1, I played a lot, it felt like I’m a big part of the group and as soon as you do that, you get your confidence up and you make plays you probably wouldn’t do if you don’t have your confidence up. I played a whole season (in the KHL) so I was in shape. It’s a hard question for me to answer.”

What’s not hard to see or for Zuccarello to describe is how much fun he is enjoying this stint with the Rangers. In his first go round, Zuccarello never seemed to be able to satisfy Tortorella, who never looked comfortable in how to use Zuccarello.

“It’s fun to be here with the guys and playing NHL hockey,” Zuccarello said. “You have to appreciate it. “You never know how long it’s going to last. Hopefully it’s going to last for a little bit longer. I’m just trying to come in here and spread some good cheer and be that guy. As a person, I’m pretty outgoing and I don’t take everything so seriously. Maybe that’s the main reason I can have a good time and play some hockey and hopefully make the playoffs. But it’s important to find that balance between being serious and having fun.”

Zuccarello said the way his new/old Rangers’ teammates greeted him when he met them in Ottawa on March 27 made him instantly feel like part of the group again.

“I didn’t feel like I was away for too long,” Zuccarello said.http://blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/rangerrants/comments/zuccarello_responding_in_crunch_time/

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/going_to_the_mats_mjrnERClhTXKt45po0iddN?utm_mediu m=rss&utm_content=Rangers

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/rangers/back-blue-hobbit-humming-rangers-article-1.1326485?localLinksEnabled=false

nyr2002nyr
04-25-2013, 11:44 AM
He was the Team last game

fingerbang
04-25-2013, 11:52 AM
When I saw this thread in the forum I said to myself, "Gee, I wonder who made this?"

Yea, he's played well for them.

SLY WILLIAMS
04-25-2013, 12:11 PM
He was the Team last game

Looks like the media agreed with you since 3 of them had articles about Mats.

I was just thinking about the 2 weeks or so where we could have signed him. I think we went something like 3-6 in them including a SO loss. If we signed him earlier is it possible we would have already clinched?

bsi
04-25-2013, 04:59 PM
Looks like the media agreed with you since 3 of them had articles about Mats.

I was just thinking about the 2 weeks or so where we could have signed him. I think we went something like 3-6 in them including a SO loss. If we signed him earlier is it possible we would have already clinched?

We've had rough patches since he got here too so it's hard to say if we'd have clinched earlier or not. Hope he's able to continue his play in playoffs if we can make it there, it's a dfferent type of game then. Our PP got a boost from Brassard and Clowe as well and I think the biggest positive is that we were able to send Miller and Kreider down, neither of whom is ready for the NHL. Our team lacked a decent 3rd and 4th line and that was fixed with the Gaborik trade. I can't wait for Dorsett to get back and start banging bodies.