Apr 18, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (16) is congratulated by right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) after scoring a third period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during game 2 of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
1) Mats Zuccarello’s hopeful return
Mats Zuccarello has been out injured since April 24th. In Game Five of the first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he took a slap shot to the side of the helmet from his own teammate Ryan McDonagh.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel; Zuccarello skated with the Rangers yesterday for the first time since taking the injury. When asked about how Zuccarello is doing, coach Alain Vigneault said he’s “Coming along. Normal steps. It’s just, there’s a number of steps and this is one of them.”
Zuccarello has proven to be a key player in the Rangers team. Even though he is one of the smallest players in the NHL, he isn’t afraid to put his body on the line, and isn’t afraid to jump into a scrum and stand up for his teammates. Without his presence on the ice and in the dressing room, the team have arguably not been the same offensively since. And with 15 goals and 34 assists in the regular season, it shows that the Rangers need their star winger back as soon as possible. He will hopefully make a return for Game Five at the earliest, but that may be asking a bit too much at this point in time.
Next: Reason Number Two