by Patrick Hoffman on 01/06/11 at 10:24 AM ET
For many years, New York Rangers’ fans wanted a team that worked hard every night, won hockey games and had a bunch of young players on the roster.
Believe it or not, Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather has succeeded in making that happen and it showed last night in the team’s 2-1 overtime victory last night over the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.
The key players in last night’s victory are all home-grown Blueshirts and all contributed to a Blueshirt victory. Defenseman Matt Gilroy scored to give the Rangers’ a 1-0 lead off a great feed from Mats Zuccarello.
In overtime, Zuccarello struck for his first career National Hockey League goal to give his team the victory. After the game, Rangers’ head coach was happy for Zuccarello:
“Good for him,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “He’s a real likable kid, and he should feel real good about it because it’s a huge two points for us and it was a big goal by him. I am sure he’s real excited about it.”
For Ranger fans, it must be great to see a 23-year-old getting ice time and using it to the best of his abilities. In years prior to the lockout, that just was not possible but now, the team is trying to head in the right direction of developing their youngsters and giving them a chance to contribute.
“Me being able to secure a win like this for the team is just an unbelievable feeling,” said Zuccarello, 23. “I haven’t been here that long, so scoring a goal for me is just a great feeling.”
Brandon Dubinsky is another one of the team’s youngsters that contributed last night as he picked up two assists. The one that really mattered was when on Zuccarello’s overtime winner, Dubinsky was able to rush the puck up the ice, skate by a few Hurricanes’ players and then battle to get the puck to Zuccarello.
All in all, the Rangers were able to pick up a two big points before getting ready for games with the Dallas Stars on Friday night and then the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. They are going to be tough games for the Blueshirts but if they play the way they did last night and let youth lead the way, they may be able to come away with a couple of more points in the standings.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.