MATT: At first I was going to take Rick Nash, who I felt — despite two minor penalties — was the team's most dangerous forward last night. But ultimately, I'm going with Mats Zuccarello. I've said this before, but I just love watching him play the game last night. Joe Michlletti last night said that Zuccarello isn't only becoming a threat among the Rangers, but the entire NHL. He's so strong on the puck and his quickness led to the Rangers' first goal. His move in the shootout I think took everyone by surprise, as we're used to the slow skate with the quick wrist shot. But nope, Mats fooled us with speed and the deke for the marker. I've written this before as well, but I just love the snarl Zuccarello plays with. He doesn't fear anyone and he's willing to take some punishment after giving it. He didn't like the hack Chris Kunitz gave to Henrik Lundqvist, so he slashed him on the leg, egged Kunitz into throwing some punches and the Rangers wind up with the power play. He's just cooking on all cylinders right now, and his linemates are benefitting from it.
JIM: My Unsung Hero for the Rangers Friday night was Marc Staal. While Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh deserve much of the credit for their work at even strength against the Penguins top guns, so, too, do Staal and his partner Anton Stralman deserve credit for their stout play at even strength. Yes, Staal was on the ice for James Neal's game-tying goal in the third period, though I think he was far from at fault; and his play over 24:29 of ice time was exemplary at even strength, I thought. Staal also notched an assist, setting in motion the game-opening goal scored by Benoit Pouliot, and finished with four shots on goal as once again he was extremely active in the offensive end--even on a night when he was aware he'd be challenged at the other end by the Penguins high-flying group of forwards. I am extremely impressed with how well Staal has played since returning from his concussion.