Cats Cough Up Rangers In the Shootout

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers.

Mats Zuccarello – After trading away team captain Ryan McDonagh, as well as alternate Rick Nash, at the deadline, Mats Zuccarello has been “forced” to step up his role as a leader with the Rangers. And Zuccarello stepped up and got the Rangers on the scoreboard in the second, sparking the team’s ultimate comeback in the third. Zuccarello deflected Neal Pionk’s point shot down and past Roberto Luongo for his 11th goal of the season.

The diminutive Norwegian wasn’t done putting pucks in the net, as he scored the only goal for the Rangers in the 1v1 battle with the Panthers netminder. Zuccarello put the puck in the net with a gorgeous deke, sending Luongo’s jockstrap into the rafters of the BB&T Center.

Jeff Gorton decided to keep Zuccarello around after the deadline and you would have to expect that Zuccarello is here for a reason. If he can start picking up goals over the final stretch of the season, it’ll go a long way with team management.

Mika Zibanejad – With the Rangers trailing heading into the third, a quick goal was what they needed. And it was Mika Zibanejad who knotted the game at two, a mere 17 seconds into the final frame. Zibanejad took Jesper Fast’s drop pass, went to his backhand, and stuck the puck just inside the near post for a beautiful goal.

The goal was the 20th of the campaign for the Swedish center, and he will be an integral part of this team as it continues to rebuild.

Kevin Hayes – The Panthers regained their lead less than a minute after the Zibanejad goal, but the Blueshirts wouldn’t go home without a fight. Rangers center Kevin Hayes took John Gilmour’s pass and lasered a wrist shot off the post and into the net behind Luongo for his 20th goal of the season. If Hayes can start shooting the puck more and more, his value will only go up as one of the team’s core players going forward.

Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers netminder was solid in this one, making 32 stops on the 35 Florida shots. Lundqvist kept his team in the game a few times, including this breakaway save with the Rangers shorthanded.

Lundqvist has said time and time again that he wants to remain with the Rangers for the entirety of his career. And with the team entering a transition stage this offseason, Lundqvist will be one of the few guaranteed players heading into next year.

Next Game: The Blueshirts will look to pick up the full two points on Monday when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at The Garden. Puck drops at 7!



  • I was pleasantly surprised at how well this ragtag team played last nite. They show a lot of possibility! What they need now, and have needed for a long time is a couple of scorers! They don’t have a bonafide go to guy, and their secondary scoring is missing also. The guys that played last nite were all we need to compete next year, if management can find and obtain a DEPENDABLE scorer, and one more forward that can chip in with a goal every now and then.
    As it is now, the competition just overwhelms the skill of the few we have that could be considered possible game changers!
    With some more time spent together, these guys can contribute mightily to the success of the team next year, but we ABSOLUTELY NEED A COUPLE OF SCORERS!
    Things, in my opinion, are a lot better than I thought!! These kids are definitely the nucleus of a good team next year.

    • So you’re ok with giving up 50 SOG every night? It’s great to see these kids flying around but they’ve been trying the whole time. That to me is more impressive then anything. But there’s others that will be here next year and this team will probably see several faces come n go in the next few years. I’m just trying to relax finally.Weve had some real successful seasons for a while now but with that comes stress. Lol. Now at least I don’t have any expectations and I could just watch

  • Boy, JP, You’re a tough customer!!!
    How about looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty! I’ll take 50 SOG and trying over a lackluster, disinterested, “i’ll take my pay” attitude any day!
    I completely understand that all of these guys won’t be playing next April, but it sure beats watching the same old guys, day after day, putting out 50%.
    Like it or not, this is basically what we have for next year, exclusive of who leaves in trades and joins in trades. As I said, if we get a couple of scorers, at least I’ll feel we will compete every game with these kids.
    I’ve watched too many lackluster games by too many “old Pros” the last couple of years for my liking!

    BTW, What’s the latest on D’Angelo’s injury??? I sure don’t like what I saw last nite, and bringing up another defenseman today doesn’t bode well for him! I had just finished texting two of my daughters watching up in Connecticut that his name was very prevalant in the announcers play by play! He hit the boards HARD, and one replay shows his whole foot and ankle twisted up pretty severely when he hit the boards. I hope it’s only a sprain ( long recovery, but usually no permanent damage) rather than ligaments and/or bone fracture(s)!!

    • James I’m just saying that there’s gonna be plenty of changes still. I love seeing these guys playing hard and it’s actually refreshing to see some new faces. But you’re saying the guys we have out there are all we need to compete for next year and all we need is a few goal scorers. I think we need to get a solid D still and we should see some good D men in the next year or so. We’ve always needed a real,go to guy it seems. But over all I’m optimistic about this team in the next few years. Believe me I’ve been watching the rangers long enough to be able to take the good with the bad.

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