Tag: Rick Nash

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five

Report: Zuccarello won’t play in second round


Citing “several sources,” the New York Post is reporting that Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello “will not be available” for the entire second-round series versus the Washington Capitals, and that his availability beyond the second round “is in doubt.”

The Rangers announced earlier in the week that Zuccarello, with a suspected concussion suffered in Game 5 versus the Penguins, was out indefinitely.

If the report is accurate, Zuccarello’s speed and play-making ability will be missed by the Rangers. The 27-year-old finished the regular season with 15 goals and 34 assists.

Veteran winger Martin St. Louis is expected to take Zuccarello’s spot on the Rangers’ first line, centered by Derick Brassard with Rick Nash on the left side.

Video: Rangers beat Fleury just 28 seconds into series

Brassard goal

The Pittsburgh Penguins limped into the playoffs and that combined with the Penguins missing defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Kris Letang, Derrick Pouliot, and Olli Maatta to a variety of injuries led to them being cast as the underdogs in their first round series against the New York Rangers.

Of course, as long as the Penguins feature Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, they can’t be ruled out entirely, but they weren’t able to take advantage of the fresh start that the playoffs afforded them.

The Rangers needed just 28 seconds to take a 1-0 lead as Derick Brassard took advantage of a big rebound created by Rick Nash’s shot:

The silver lining when it comes to falling behind early is there is plenty of time to regain the lead. That being said, the Penguins were 10-18-5 in games when they fell behind 1-0 in the regular season.

Rangers’ Nash, Staal will miss season finale vs. Capitals

Rick Nash

The Washington Capitals’ goal of staying ahead of the New York Islanders in the battle for the second seed in the Metropolitan Division just got easier. The Rangers announced that forward Rick Nash and defenseman Marc Staal will miss New York’s game against Washington, which starts at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello is being regarded as a game-time decision.

For Nash and Staal, this will be the second straight game they’ve missed while Zuccarello is in danger of being absent for his third straight contest. Although the Rangers’ decision to scratch all three of them on Thursday was seen by many as an effort to rest some of their players before the start of the playoffs, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault insisted that all three of them were held out due to injuries.

While many players are presumably less than 100% at this point, the question is if those three would have been able to play on Thursday or today if needed. The Rangers have already clinched the Presidents’ Trophy, so the fact that three of their top players might be out this afternoon doesn’t really hurt them. It becomes a big issue though if Nash, Staal, and Zuccarello aren’t available for Game 1 of the first round.

The chances of at least some of them being ready for the playoffs is good though given that Nash said he “felt normal” after Friday’s skate and Zuccarello reported that he was feeling better, per the Bergen Record. Staal didn’t skate on Friday though.

You’re welcome, Ottawa — Rangers resting Nash, Zuccarello, and Staal (Updated)

Rick Nash

With the Presidents’ Trophy clinched, the New York Rangers are reportedly giving three of their top players — Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Marc Staal — the night off tonight.

That’s great news for the Rangers’ opponents, the playoff-hopeful Ottawa Senators, and not-so-great news for the teams the Sens are chasing, like the Bruins and Penguins.

Boston, tied in points with Ottawa but holder of the ROW tie-breaker, plays in Florida tonight. Pittsburgh, just one point up, hosts the Islanders tomorrow.

The Red Wings and Islanders are the two other teams that have yet to clinch playoff spots in the East. Detroit, with a two-point cushion, is in Montreal tonight.


Related: Breaking down the East bubble after Boston’s big loss

Rangers power play ‘not nearly good enough,’ says AV

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres

There’s a power outage in New York.

The Rangers, who’ve scored just twice on their last 33 power play opportunities, head into tonight’s game in Winnipeg looking to spark a man advantage unit that sits 21st overall in the NHL and hasn’t scored on the road since Mar. 4.

“It’s not nearly good enough, without a doubt,” head coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Post, after Sunday’s 0-for-5 PP outing versus Washington. “We’re going to take a look at some tape and make the adjustments we need to make.”

On paper, the Rangers should be dynamic. Dan Boyle, though clearly not the player he once was, has made a career out of quarterbacking power play units and Keith Yandle, who arrived from Arizona at the trade deadline, leads all NHL defensemen in PP assists.

Rick Nash once led the league in power play markers (with 19, during the 2003-04 campaign) and Chris Kreider has emerged as a good net-front presence with the man advantage, leading the Rangers with seven PPG.

So… what gives?

The Rangers can be accused of not shooting the puck enough. They have the 11th-fewest shots on goal with the man advantage this season (323) and, in the aforementioned game against Washington, could only manage four shots on goal in over seven minutes of power play time.

There’s also this explanation, from Derek Stepan.

“I think we need to simplify when we get out there,” he said. “We need to make sure we make the right plays and shoot the puck when we get a chance.”

Whatever the case, the Rangers will need to figure this and fast. An anemic man advantage can prove costly during the Stanley Cup playoffs, like last year — in the final, the Rangers went just 2-for-22 against the Kings.