Predators 3 - Rangers 1: Points Per Game

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Rangers Unsung Hero


JIM: Like Three Stars, there were not a slew of candidates for the Rangers Unsung Hero Tuesday night, but I will say that Michael Del Zotto stood out in this category. Being asked to go from being a healthy scratch to replacing Marc Staal when your confidence is in a state of flux is not an easy thing to do, but Del Zotto has handled himself quite well in two games since Staal was injured. On Tuesday he played 20:20, his second straight game with more than 20 minutes of ice time on the second defense pairing, fired four shots on goal, blocked another four shots at the other end of the ice, and generally played a solid game. He was on ice for Nashville's second goal, as well as for the Rangers lone tally scored by Rick Nash, so he ended up with an Even plus/minus rating. If Del Zotto can continue to regain confidence and play better and better, that would be a silver lining to the terrible news that Staal has suffered another concussion.

MATT: I really hate to copy you here as well, but even before we started the piece I knew Michael Del Zotto would be my guy here. Sure, he was caught up the ice on Nashville's second goal, but over the last two games he's played with a confidence we haven't seen from him in a while, as he's carrying the puck up the ice, feeding his teammates and making things happen. He's the team's biggest offensive threat — though Ryan McDonagh has taken huge steps in that area of the ice this season — and Alain Vigneault has stated quite often how important it is to get offense from the blueline. It's a shame that Del Zotto's two strong games came in lop-sided losses because I think his success gets over-shadowed. Del Zotto played some of the best hockey of his career in 2011-12 while Staal was out of the lineup from the first 35-plus games, and while you'd prefer to have Staal in there, hopefully Del Zotto can rekindle that play in a top-four role playing alongside Anton Stralman.