Jan 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT
For the Rangers, though, Zuccarello’s presence looms large.
The 26-year-old Norwegian — his country’s lone NHLer — sits second on the Blueshirts in points (35) and goals (13), and has been a major catalyst in New York’s recent turnaround. Zuccarello has four goals and seven points in January, coinciding with the Rangers’ 7-2-1 mark and ascension to second place in the Metropolitan Division.
“I think his hockey sense is up there with the best in the league,” Derick Brassard said of Zuccarello, per the Wall Street Journal. “That’s why he’s having a lot of success. He plays bigger than his size, and he’s really strong on his stick.
“But I think the main thing is his hockey sense.”
A skillful playmaker that never really found a fit under John Tortorella, Zuccarello’s blossomed this season under Alain Vigneault — though times weren’t always good. “Zuke” had just one point through his first nine games of the season and was a healthy scratch in a late-October game versus Philly.
Since then, he’s been tough to stop. Zuccarello has 34 points in his last 41 games, all while averaging a career-high 17:17 TOI per night. He’s also drawn the admiration of his Ranger mates.
“It’s the way he sees the game,” Henrik Lundqvist told the New York Times. “He can slow it down and make that pass that opens everything up.
“He’s such a smart player.”
- Bruins’ Miller out indefinitely after dislocating shoulder in fight 22
- Voynov released on $50K bond; NHL says ‘circumstances were different’ in Varlamov case 24
- Here are your top 5 and bottom 5 goalies of the young NHL season 11
- Updated: Kings’ Voynov arrested for domestic assault, suspended indefinitely 74
- Report: Brodie’s contract extension with Calgary expected Monday 0
- Video: Rangers score twice in record time 5
- Video: Quick robs Parise as part of 40-save performance 11
- Ruff blasts Dallas for playing ‘garbage hockey’ vs. Flyers 7
- Schwartz’s first career hat trick leads Blues past Coyotes 2
- Giroux nets OT winner as Flyers top Stars 3
- Source: Lucic fined $5k for gesture vs. Habs (Confirmed) (121)
- Updated: Kings’ Voynov arrested for domestic assault, suspended indefinitely (76)
- Discuss: Avs beat B’s with last-second — literally! — goal (64)
- Video: Bruins’ Lucic gestures to Habs fans after late penalty (59)
- Panthers set another record with low attendance (56)