After only scoring 3 points in 11 October games, Mats Zuccarello had 12 points in 15 November games and has 6 points in 7 December games.
Dave Maloney said after the Rangers beat the Sabres, “I talked with Jeff Gorton and he brought up that Zuccarello was as good a player that the Rangers have had over the last 10 games. Tonight he just continued to be an offensive player. What I love about him is how patient he is before he decides what to do with the puck.”
Maloney said before the Rangers played the Flames, “he is a wonderful character. What he does in a lot of areas on the ice is that he gets into position to make a play. He is not afraid to stir up. He is very patient with the puck.”
Joe Micheletti said that he spoke with Zuccarello and that Zuccarello is trying to be more patient with the puck and stop trying to rush or force passes and plays.
According to NHL.com, Zuccarello is on pace for 15 goals and 37 assists.
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Mats Zuccarello was the first intermission guest during the Rangers and Jets game and he had the following exchange with Al Trautwig:
- Al: “We are joined by one of our favorite Rangers to talk to, Mats Zuccarello. As someone who has never done what you did to score that goal, how did you learn to deflect the puck and do it in a way that it’s going to help the team score a goal.”
- Zucc: “…Mac just shot it at me…I didn’t do much.”
- Al: “There has to be some skill there”
- Zucc: “yea…yea…I can agree on that (smile and laugh)
- Al: Let’s take a look at the goal and tell me what you are feeling when you score a goal like that. You have had some great plays in the last few games.” (Continued below)
Al and Zucc previously had a conversation when Zuccarello’s mother was in town
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In his last 11 games, Mats Zuccarello has one goal and eight assists, a plus six rating and an average of 18:36 per game.
Zuccarello had points in four straight games, four games without a point and then two against the Predators.
On the season, Zuccarello has 2 goals, 10 assists and 9 of his points are primary points.
He is also third on the team in shots on goal with 52 and third on the team in shot attempts with 88.
Derek Stepan told the Daily News that Zuccarello is and has always been a pass first kind of guy and that he tells Zuccarello to shoot the puck more.
According to Extra Skater, when Zuccarello is on the ice the Rangers have 54.2% of the shot attempts and 54.5% of the shots on goal.
Zuccarello is starting 29.7% of his shifts in the offensive zone, 38.4% in the neutral zone and 31.9% in the defensive zone.
Throughout the game last night, Mats Zuccarello was around Marty Brodeur and the two seemed to engage in a few altercations.
Brodeur shoved Zuccarello in the second period and as Zuccarello was preparing to charge back, he was put in a head lock by Marek Zidlickly. Zuccarello and Zidlicky were called for roughing penalties.
After the game, Zucarello said that there was nothing to to their battles and told the NY Post that it was just “heat of the moment” and two competitive guys battling. “No big deal.”
He added that those kinds of things happen in heated rivalry games like this.
Brodeur said last night “he’s the only guy I can take on.”
Pete DeBoer said “I saw Zuccarello stick him two or three times and he better hope that Marty doesn’t get upset.
On Wednesday night, Don La Greca asked Mats Zuccarello to describe the play he made to set up Derek Stepan for the game winning goal against the Penguins:
Zuccarello said that he saw two Penguins close to him and that Derek Stepan had speed coming into the zone. He added, “I didn’t Know Step was that fast….it was a nice goal by Step.”
Zuccarello has one goal and seven assists in his last eight games.
Since being scratched against the Flyers, Mats Zuccarello has one goal and two assists in 4 games to go with 11 shots.
Zuccarello had seven total shots in the seven games prior to being scratched including three games with 0 shots.
Zucc told Licalzi that he had a tough start and put a lot of pressure on himself to produce and that since then he has relaxed, played a simple game and feels as if he is contributing.
He told the Daily News , that he put a lot of pressure on himself to produce while the Rangers were battling injuries and wanted to show the coaches that he could be a big player.
In a chat with the Rangers website, Chris Kreider described Zuccarello as something of a “wildcard” who can do a lot on the ice.
Henrik Lundqvist told SNY’s Nick Licalzi that Zuccarello is a hard worker, a great player and someone who sees the game really well.
Zucc, according to TV2, had the Broadway Hat following the win over the Sabres. He was the first star in that game.
Against the Islanders on Tuesday, Alain Vigneault put Derek Stepan in the middle of Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello.
Since being put together, Kreider has two goals, Stepan has two assists and Zuccarello has two assists.
According to Extra Skater, at 5 on 5 last night:
- Zuccarello: 21 shot attempts for, 11 shot attempts against. 16 shots on goal for, 4 against
- Kreider: 20 shot attempts for, 11 against, 15 shots on goal for, 4 against
- Stepan: 20 shot attempts for, 11 against, 15 shots on goal for, 4 against
Zuccarello had eight shot attempts, 5 on goal, 1 that missed the net, 2 that were blocked, Stepan had 7 shots on goal, and Kreider had six shots on goal and one shot that missed the net.
They played mostly against Mark Pysyk and Christian Ehrhoff
Stepan said after the game, to SNY’s Nick Licalzi, that the line has worked because “the two wingers are great. Chris’ speed alone is something that makes more space for me and Zucc to make plays and Zucc has been making great plays the last two games and he has been able to back the D off with Chris’ speed and make plays underneath.
Zuccarello told Licalzi, “Kreids is a big body, strong, wins a lot of pucks. Step is one of the smartest players there is. He reads the game well, he is a good passer and smart. I fly around a little bit. It’s going well but we have to stay humble and keep working the same way. It’s just hard work that makes us successful.”
Carl Hagelin told Licalzi that the line “looks good” and that Kreider’s size and speed compliment how good Stepan and Zuccarello are with the puck.
Adam Rotter: The line has been really effective for the Rangers at creating chances and possessing the puck. It’s three guys who didn’t have the starts to the season that they wanted but have, especially Zuccarello and Stepan, come alive since being put together.
1:33PM: Scott Arniel told TV2 that Zucc is a player who thinks a lot and right now the best thing for him to do is rest. Arniel said that Zucc could be back against the Red Wings.
11:22AM: Alain Vigneault has told the media in Philadelphia, Steve Zipay and Andrew Gross, that Mats Zuccarello will be a healthy scratch tonight and Brandon Mashinter will be in the lineup.
Vigneault said that the decision to sit Zuccarello is based on performance and not about trying to have another tough guy in the lineup against the Flyers
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Vigneault also said that Henrik Lundqvist will skate with Benoit Allaire today.
Michael Del Zotto is in the lineup and Justin Falk is a scratch.
4:19PM: Zuccarello told TV2 that he doesn’t think he will play tomorrow. He also said, according to google translate, that he has played this season like “bad sh**.”
He added that being shifted to different lines this week shows that he hasn’t played up to expectations and it’s not a good feeling.
1:58PM: According to reports from practice today, Mats Zuccarello was in and out of line rushes and Alain Vigneault said that he hadn’t yet decided on his forwards for tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
Andrew Gross tweeted that Zuccarello was on the ice and having a long chat with Associate Coach Scott Arniel and that could indicate that Zuccarello will be scratched tomorrow.
Zuccarello has no points in seven games, is a minus three, has 9 hits, 7 shots and an average of 16:41 of ice time.
According to Extra Skater, Zuccarello at even strength has been on the ice for:
- 28 shots on goal for, 53 shots on goal against (last on the team in terms of percentage)
- 65 shot attempts for and 93 shot attempts against
- 0 goals for, 3 goals against
Zuccarello is starting 23.8% of his shifts in the offensive zone, 39.3% in the neutral zone and 36.9% in the defensive zone. His average shot distance is 30.6 and he has had 15 total attempts, 7 on goal, 7 that missed the net and 1 that was blocked.
Mats Zuccarello seems to be one of the players in the Rangers top six that Alain Vigneault put on notice as having to produce offense and get on the stat sheet.
Zuccarello told the Rangers website that he is well aware that he has no points in the Rangers five games and is constantly thinking about it. He said that he is playing important minutes and needs to show that he deserves to stay in that role.
He says that he has been producing a lot of chances and that he knows his offense will come, hopefully, Zuccarello said, it comes tonight against the Capitals.
Zuccarello has never gone more than three games in his career with the Rangers without registering a point.
He has gone three games without a point between about half a dozen times in his career in his career with the Rangers.