Early morning reports say that the New York Rangers seem to be close to full health. At least on the surface, that is.
Mats Zuccarello apparently skated in full gear with the territory indicating he may be back to full strength, and ready to compete soon. Zuccarello was a key forward for the Rangers during the regular season, as well as in the first round of the playoffs and will be a vital key component for the team to be firing on all cylinders for the rest of postseason.
Rick Nash, despite being an active contributor to the Rangers by providing shots, and strong defense, has been criticized for his muted appearances on the score sheet. It can be surmised that with Zuccarello’s return the team as a whole will be able to perform better as he is a known spark plug that provides motivation, and energy for the Rangers.
A small player that plays bigger than life would more than likely get the offense to reach another level, and may be able to help bolster the score sheet beyond one goal lead that has become common place thus far this postseason in New York.
Much like the return of defenseman Kevin Klein (led Rangers defense in points during regular season) bolstered the overall performance of the defense, expect Zuccarello to improve the offense upon his return.
If the Rangers can manage to come away with a win in Game 2, it will greatly improve their chances of taking the Eastern Conference title as time and healing will put them in the best position to win. Of the two players criticized most thus far this post season expect Rick Nash to capitalize on his efforts in Game 2.
The other, in Martin St. Louis, provides a wealth of intangible qualities that largely go unnoticed, or unrecognized in the commercial media however it is crucial to the makeup of this team. Coach Alain Vigneault has been somewhat of a zen master for the Rangers never getting too high or too low, and maintaining managerial composure under tense situations.
Expect his wealth of experience, and knowledge to get St. Louis on the right track. All that being said, St. Louis is a veteran in the league. He has been here before and knows what to do to help the team. The beauty of the Rangers for the past two seasons has been their depth, and the fact that on and ny given night anyone can be there hero.
Nowhere was that clearer than the ending of Game 1 with the performance of the back hand professor Dominic Moore. This team knows how to win, and they don’t panic. Game 2, much like this entire Rangers run, should be very exciting.
Game time: 8:00 p.m. ET