- In the morning notes on Saturday I talked about how I wanted to see Mats Zuccarello in to replace Brandon Mashinter. My reasoning?
I think Zuccarello brings exactly what the Rangers need right now (some offensive creativity) and even struggling as bad as he has been this year he's a better option than Brandon Mashinter in that department.
Zuccarello obviously proved me right (which doesn't happen very often). He scored a huge goal (the tying goal in the third) and aside from a dreadful turnover in the first period that lead to Detroit's first goal, played a pretty solid game overall.
- In fact, this game was pretty much a breakout game for all the underachieving forwards. Derick Brassard scored the game-winning goal in overtime. Benoit Pouliot had a power play goal in the first period and then made a marvelous hustle play to spring Brassard on a breakaway in overtime -- a play that earned him an assist on the game-winning goal. Zuccarello finally broke out with a goal. Good to see.
- Speaking of Pouliot, up until to his ejection in the loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, he was playing as well as he did last night. Pouliot has enough talent that he was drafted fourth overall in the Sidney Crosby draft of 2005. He's never been able to put all the talent and tools together, though -- with his best season coming in 2011-2012 when he scored 32 points in 74 games. With games like Saturday's it makes you wonder how he's not a 50-point player. Then you look at some of the other game's he's played where he's invisible and you kind of paint the picture. Still, if he plays like that every night the Rangers are going to be a very happy team.
- As for Brassard, I speculated after the loss to the Flyers that blaming him for his lack of offense wasn't completely fair because he hasn't really been able to line up with any goal scorers so far this season. He had two breakaways (scoring the game-winning goal on the second) and a few chances all around the net. Some of that might have to do with the fact that Zuccarello and Pouliot were playing so well, but hopefully we see more of that from Brassard.
- Chris Kreider. What a game. A slew of chances, used his speed to skate in all three zones, made things happen, cycled well and did everything but score a goal. If he keeps playing like that he's never going to see the AHL again, regardless of who comes back from injury.
- Cam Talbot, something of a surprise, right? Who knew he would be this good in two (basically surprise) starts? He kept the Rangers in the game when they needed him to -- which was often at times.
- I tweeted this last night, but I'll say it again here. That's a game you can build off of. That's a gutsy, never-give-up win by a team that could have easily hung its head when the score was 2-1 going into the third. I think Alain Vigneault has done a really good job keeping this team's confidence high, and it payed off last night.
The only question now is: Who is more excited to start playing at home, the Rangers or the fans?