Mats Zuccarello may have alot of heart, and when he is on his game, he is really on his game; but when he is not, he certainly is not. Well right now, Zuccarello has not been on his game, especially two games ago against the Los Angeles Kings and last night against the Boston Bruins. Two games where the New York Rangers could have easily won if Zuccarello decided to shoot the puck.
Against the Kings, who lost 1-0, there was a glorious opportunity for the Rangers to tie the game when the Rangers were on a 2-on-1 and the Kings’ defenseman left Zuccarello open and played for the pass, leaving an amazing shooting angle for Zuccarello.
So, what did Zuccarello do?
Instead of taking the obvious clear path shot, he decided to try to force a pass across and with the defenseman on that side; it was of course knocked away and the play was broken up. The Rangers would never see a chance like that for the rest of the game.
Last night against the Bruins, Zuccarello made 2 glaring mistakes in a game where the Rangers lost 2-1. First, early in the game, there was another odd man rush in which Zuccarello was left open and the Bruins’ defenseman was playing for the pass and again, after just doing this last game, Zuccarello chose to not take the shot and tried to force a pass that was broken up, costing the Rangers another great chance to score a goal. Then when the game was still tied at zero, Zuccarello tried to make a dumb offensive zone cross ice pass, instead of taking the puck to the net, which was stolen and led to a 2-on-1 for the Bruins and a puck in the back of the Rangers net, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead in a game where the Rangers were dominating them.
I know you should not just blame one individual, but I think it is quite obvious who’s fault it is for the last two games, and since Zuccarello responded well after being a healthy scratch, head coach Alain Vigneault should seriously consider doing it again.