Read: The Rangers Top Line and How They Are Playing

Mats ZuccarelloAgainst 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.

Note: Mats Zuccarello Scratched Tonight (Updates)

Mats Zuccarello Aasen

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

For more on Zucc, CLICK HERE.


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.

12:14PM:

Note: Mats Zuccarello Could Be Scratched Tomorrow (Updates: Zucc Speaks)

Mats Zuccarello4:19PM: 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.

 

Read: Mats Zuccarello Is Hoping Tonight Will Be The Night For Him

Mats Zuccarello seems to be one of the players in the ZuccarelloRangers 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.

Read: The Players Being Put On Notice

While meeting with the media yesterday, Alain Vigneault said that there are a few players, he didn’t specify, who have been given big roles and top six minutes but have yet to produce.

Pat Leonard, in the Daily News, thinks that the unnamed players that Vigneault mentioned are Benoit Pouliot, Taylor Pyatt and Mats Zuccarello.


Those three players have combined for ZERO points and a total of 21 shots on goal.

  • Pouliot: minus 3, 13:49 per game, on ice for 3 goals against, 0 goals for, 59 shot attempts against, 64 shot attempts for, 36 shots on goal against, 30 shots on goal for.
        Starts: 30.8% of shifts in offensive zone, 40.4% in the neutral zone, 28.8% in the defensive zone
  • Zuccarello: minus 2, 17:23 per game, on ice for 2 goals against, 0 goals for, 76 total shot attempts against, 77 shot attempts for, 46 shots on goal against, 36 shots on goal for.
        Starts: 23.2% of shifts in offensive zone, 35.7% in neutral zone, 41.1% in defensive zones
  • Pyatt: minus 6, 15:22 per game, on ice for 8 goals against, 1 goal for, 90 total shot attempts against, 53 shot attempts for, 46 shots on goal against, 30 shots on goal for.
        Starts: 17.7% in the offensive zone, 51.6% in the neutral zone, 30.6% in the defensive zone.

Zuccarello told the Daily News that he knows he has to produce and that while he is glad to have been given a good role, he knows he will lose it if he doesn’t start adding offense.

Derick Brassard told the NY Post that he to create offense for his linemates and when he gets scoring chances he needs to bury them.

Read: The Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello Line

Mats ZuccarelloWhile chatting with the media on Friday, Alain Vigneault said that he has kept Derick Brassard between Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot together as a line.

The line contributed two goals in the Rangers  3-2 over the flyers.


In describing each other’s games, Pouliot told Katie Strang of ESPN NY, that Brassard is a dangerous, shifty and quick player.

Brassard told Strang that Zuccarello is a special kind of player who can see the ice well.

Alain Vigneault said that Brassard and Pouliot have some chemistry and that it should continue to build the more they are together.

On his own game, Brassard told Ranger Rants that he knew last year that he had another level to his game and that he doesn’t want to put too much stock in one preseason game.

To read more of this story, click here

Read: Mats Zuccarello Thinks That He Showed Who He Really Is Last Season

ZuccarelloIn a chat with the Rangers website , Mats Zuccarello said that he felt he showed “the real me” last season when he came to the Rangers.

He had 10 points in 15 regular season games and 7 points in 12 playoff games. He added that he loves being a Ranger, loves the organization and that signing any contract is big, but signing a contract with the Rangers is something special.

Zuccarello signed a one-year deal with the Rangers over the summer and hopes to play well enough to sign an extension following the season.

He told Ranger Rants that he wants to play an important role for the Rangers this season.