Mats Zuccarello isn’t available to face Blues

On the same day that 34-year-old forward Ryan Malone cleared waivers, he will be in the lineup for the New York Rangers. That might not be ideal, but the Rangers have been forced to make an adjustment because Mats Zuccarello is out due to an undisclosed injury.

Zuccarello was likely hurt during the second period of Saturday’s game. He stayed in that contest, but he skipped the team’s optional skate on Sunday and wasn’t able to participate in Monday’s practice, per the Bergen Record. He was a game-time decision at that point, but he didn’t participate in the team’s pregame warmups.

With Zuccarello out of the lineup, Martin St. Louis is expected to play alongside Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. Malone is projected to skate on the fourth line with Tanner Glass and Chris Mueller, per the Record’s Andrew Gross.

The Rangers are playing against the St. Louis Blues tonight in their second and final contest of the season series. The Rangers earned a 3-2 win against them on Oct. 9.

Vigneault: Stepan could return for Rangers as soon as Monday

The New York Rangers have been doing their best to adapt to some tough losses at the center position, but they could get their top pivot Derek Stepan back as early as Monday.

That’s the word from Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, via New York Newsday’s Steve Zipay:

Wording is obviously important here: Vigneault isn’t “ruling him out” for a return against the St. Louis Blues, yet he’s not exactly making any promises, either.

The 24-year-old suffered a fractured fibula in the preseason, which clearly isn’t something you want to rush back from.

It doesn’t hurt that the Rangers seem to be righting the ship, either. After losing three of their first four games, they’ve now won four of five.

With Stepan out and other key centers Brad Richards and Brian Boyle gone via free agency, Vigneault has been experimenting with different setups down the middle. Sometimes the Rangers trotted long-time right wing Martin St. Louis out as their top center. Other times they’ve asked Derick Brassard to test his limits with the top role. A healthy Stepan would easily be the preference, especially since his return would allow others to slide into more comfortable spots.

Stepan has some added personal motivation to boot.

He’s in the last year of a deal that carries a $3.075 million cap hit, and even as a pending RFA, he could really max out his earning potential on a line with St. Louis and red-hot Rick Nash.

That’s assuming that he this injury isn’t a lingering issue though, of course.

Update: He skated this morning, but in a no-contact jersey.

Rangers score five third period goals to top Wild


Derick Brassard, Anthony Duclair and Mats Zuccarello had third period markers as part of a five-goal outburst from the Rangers to edge the Minnesota Wild 5-4 Monday night.

New York’s comeback was a historical one:

Duclair’s goal was his first in the NHL.

Kevin Klein and Rick Nash added the other Rangers goals. Nash’s team-leading ninth goal gives him points in seven of nine games.

Nate Prosser, Matt Cooke and Jason Pominville scored second period goals to give the Wild a 3-0 lead after two periods. Jason Zucker added his team-leading fifth of the season to give the Wild a 4-2 lead in the third, but Minnesota was unable to fend off New York. 

After registering just eight shots combined through the first two periods, the Rangers had 12 in the third period.

Darcy Kuemper made 15 saves in the loss while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 saves for the win.

Wild forward Eric Haula was the recipient of an elbow to the head from John Moore during the second period. He left the game and did not return. Wild coach Mike Yeo did not have an update on Haula.

Moore was assessed a match penalty and ejected from the game.

In the first period, Chris Kreider was tossed for his hit from behind on Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin. Brodin left the game briefly, but did return. Kreider was assessed a major for boarding and a game misconduct.

Senior Vice President of Player Safety, Stephane Quintal, who on Monday handed out his first suspension since taking the job, was in attendance at Madison Square Garden.

Wild forward Zach Parise had some work done to his face after taking an inadvertent high stick from Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal early in the second period.

With Haula’s status in doubt, beat report  Michael Russo expects Kyle Brodziak to be in the lineup when Minnesota visits Boston on Tuesday.

The loss halts the Wild’s win streak at two games while the win was New York’s fourth in five games.

Rangers blank Sharks


New York got second period goals from Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash, four seconds apart, helping the Rangers to a 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks Sunday.

The two goals tied a franchise record set during the 1991-92 season.

Rangers’ rookie Kevin Hayes scored his first career goal in the third period while Carl Hagelin had the other goal.

Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves for his 51st career shutout.

However, the biggest save was made by Rangers defenseman Matt Hunwick, who grabbed a rebound off the goal line to keep things scoreless early in the first.

Alex Stalock made 25 saves in the loss.

Rangers’ defenseman Dan Girardi left the game early in the third period with an apparent right foot injury after blocking a shot and did not return.

New York has now won back-to-back games after losing three straight. The Sharks who were playing in back-to-back games and their third in four nights have failed to pick up a win in two of three.

Video: Rangers score twice in record time


The New York Rangers scored twice in the final minute of the second period tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

Martin St. Louis gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead with 43 seconds remaining picking up his first of the season. The goal was reviewed and ruled a good goal as it crossed the goal line prior to the whistle being blown.

Off the ensuing face-off, Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock mis-handled a loose puck and Rick Nash picked up his seventh of the season.

According to the New York Rangers, the two goals, which were scored four seconds apart, are the fastest two goals scored without an empty net in franchise history.