Rangers-Mats Zuccarello: In the midst of having a strong post-season to this point, Zuccarello was very hard on himself following Thursday's Game One overtime loss. Zuccarello took blame for not backchecking better and failing to tie up Brad Marchand on the game-winning goal, which was scored on a 3-on-2 rush up ice. Though Zuccarello was a minus-2 in Game One, he and his linemates---Rick Nash and Derick Brassard---created several scoring chances, including Ryan McDonagh's goal late in the second period. Zuccarello has five points (1-4-5) in eight playoff games this spring, putting him tied for second on the team in post-season point-production behind Brassard who has ten points. He has played confidently, smartly, creatively, and physically in a Top Six forward role, elevating his game from the impressive 18 he played with the Rangers after signing as a free agent. Very quietly he has helped make the Rangers a better team in these playoffs, and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back after that overtime disappointment.
Bruins-Brad Marchand: The Bruins leading goal scorer (18) and point producer (36) in the regular season, Marchand picked quite the moment for his first post-season goal this spring---scoring the game-winner 15:40 into overtime Thursday to hand Boston a 3-2 victory and a 1-0 series lead. Marchand, who has 26 points in 40 career playoff games, also assisted on Torey Krug's game-tying goal in Game One, upping his point total this spring to five points (1-4-5) in eight games. Making his performance the more compelling is that he left the ice in pain during the morning skate Thursday, and was considered by many to be questionable to play Game One---or at least comrpomised physically. Instead he was the overtime hero. The 5-foot-9 Marchand is a super-pest on the ice, and a gifted offensive player, who thrived on the big stage. He was a major contributor when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011---scoring 11 goals and finishing with 19 points in 25 games. And his read of the play, speed getting to the net, and deft finishing touch on the overtime winner Thursday showcased a big reason why he is such a clutch player.