Mats Makes his Mark in Rangers 2-1 Victory over the Hurricanes

New York, NY - Head coach John Tortorella wanted the Rangers to go back to their aggressive forecheck, and play in their push to the playoffs. That Blueshirt blueprint worked for the Rangers (23-15-3) in their 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes (18-15-6) in hockey action on Wednesday night. Mats Zuccarello would make his mark recording his first NHL goal in overtime to lead the Rangers to the victory.

In what was a fast and physical first period of play, both teams had hard hits along with golden scoring opportunities. The first real shot that the Rangers were able to tally was at the 1:14 mark when Derek Stephan tried a 19 foot wrister which was saved by Cam Ward of the Hurricanes.

Carolina would respond with their first shot of the game at the 2:52 mark by Troy Bodie, but the winger was denied by the play of Rangers keeper Henrik Lundqvist. Joe Corvo would try for a 69 foot slap shot at the 2:59 mark, but that was also stopped by the play of Lundqvist.

New York had a beautiful opportunity at the 5:33 mark as Stephan was able to set up Sean Avery, who was wide open in front of the Carolina cage. Avery attempted a 14 foot writer, but would be denied by the pads of Cam Ward.

Then at the 6:07 mark of the first period the glove would drop as Troy Bodie and Brandon Prust started to exchanging good blows. The two would continue to fight, while skating onto center ice and beyond. Eventually the two had to be broken up by the officiating crews, much to the delight of the fans at Madison Square Garden.

New York would continue to try to put offensive pressure and notch their first goal, they would have another good opportunity at the 9:16 mark. It was on a Brian Boyle 38 foot wrister, but that would be stuffed by the left pad of Ward.

Then Carolina would have a long 65 foot wrister by Jay Harrison which would be squeezed tightly by Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers keeper would also stuff a 32 foot wrister attempt by Joe Corvo at the 18:10 mark.

Before the horn would sound to end the first period of play Ruslan Fedotenko would have one lat shot at the 19:14 mark, trying for a 22 foot writer, but sadly his shot would go wide of the net. Neither team was able to tally a goal, but the Hurricanes held the shots advantage by a tally of 13-8 at the end of the first period of play.

The fast pace, hard hitting and offensive flurries would continue for the both squads going into the second period of play. The Blueshirts would set the pace early with a Brandon Prust 26 foot opportunity at the 0:41 mark of that frame, but War d was up to the task. Marian Gaborik would try to sniper a 26 foot snap shot, which was set up beautifully by Sean Avery, but the Carolina keeper was able to quickly get his left pad out for the save.

In the winding minutes of the second period Sean Avery would become big and stop a puck with his hand. One would see Avery grimace in pain and would eventually skate away into the locker room after blocking that shot. Thankfully for Rangers fans Avery would return to the ice in the third period of play.

Jeff Skinner would have a nine foot tip-in for the Hurricanes at the 15:52 mark, which was robbed by Henrik Lundqvist. Cheers of ‘Let’s Go Rangers” would begin to echo off the hallowed walls of Madison Square Garden to try to urge the Blueshirts on to their first goal.

The Rangers would respond with two golden opportunities, the first at the 17:47 mark when Marc Staal tried for a wicked 63 foot slap shot, but he would be stuffed by Ward.

The Carolina keeper was having such a great night that his mask was even able to make a save at the 19:53 mark, stopping a 26 foot wrister by Marian Gaborik. The two teams would remain scoreless after two periods, but the good news for Rangers fans was that the Blueshirts held the held the 23-21 shots advantage at the end of two periods of play.

Both of the keepers in the cage had put on a clinic on how to make phenomenal saves thorough the Wednesday night game between the two squads. Both teams would continue to sacrifice their bodies by blocking the puck with a total of (totals at the end of the game)

As the horn would start to sound the third period this classic game would continue with its faced paced play. New York would try for an early tally in the frame at the 0:37 mark as Brandon Dubinsky tried for a nine foot wrister, which was stuffed by Ward.

Carolina would respond with a golden opportunity at the 2:27 mark as Erik Cole had a great open ice opportunity, but this shot would go high over the net.
Third Period:

New York would then strike for their first goal at the 8:41 mark when Matt Gilroy (3) was able to net a 41 foot wrister, which would make the crowd at Madison Square Garden Explode with delight. Gilroy who was set up by Mats Zuccarello (2) and Brandon Dubinsky (17) on a grind-it-out effort to give the Blueshirts the 1-0 lead.

Just when the fans thought it was safe to celebrate two points the Hurricanes would come storming back a the 13:46 mark when Eric Staal (19) tallied the first Carolina goal. The Captain would go crashing into the Rangers cage letting off a quick nine foot wrister, which was set up by Joe Corvo (10) and Tim Gleason (eight) to notch the team up at 1-1.

The two squad would need the overtime frame to decide the winner and it would come from rookie Mats Zuccarello, who was set up on a great individual effort by Brandon Dubinsky. Dubinsky (18) took the puck from Henrik Lundqvist (1) and would skate strongly up the net. He would get the puck to Zuccarello would finish off the game on a nine foot wrister , for his first NHL goal, at the 3:09 mark for the thrilling 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes.

In the cage the two keepers were stellar first was Lundqvist who made 31 saves in the cage for New York, while Cam Ward made 33 saves in the cage for the Hurricanes.

New York will now go on a road trip starting in Dallas on Friday night for a 8:30 p.m. face-off with the Stars.



Ranger4ever's picture

Hey Stacy!

Nice bit of writing--I felt like I was AT the game!! It was nice to read about Mats' big breakthrough as the Blueshirts seemed to be stagnating of late after their great December run. With Callahan out for a bit yet and Prospal having suffered his recent set back, The Broadway Blueshirts are gonna need some forwards to step up...maybe this is Zuccarello's time! Keep up the good work.