by Patrick Hoffman on 01/23/11 at 12:48 AM ET
Injury/Call-Up Update: According to team beat writer Andrew Gross, Mitch Beck of Howlings Today for the Connecticut Whale said that both Evgeny Grachev and Michael Del Zotto have been been called up by the Blueshirts to replace Brandon Prust and Dan Girardi, who are both day-to-day after getting hurt in tonight’s game.
This was one of those games where the New York Rangers really needed a big goal to salvage a hockey game and tonight, they got it from one of the most improved players in the league in Brian Boyle.
With just over six minutes to go in the third period, Brian Boyle beat an Atlanta Thrashers’ defenseman to a puck in the Thrashers zone and skated to his left and flicked a shot past Thrashers’ netminder Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game up at 2-2. This goal helped the Blueshirts get into overtime and evenutally, the shootout where Mats Zuccarello scored the winning goal, giving the Blueshirts a 3-2 victory and two very important points in the Eastern Conference.
The Blueshirts got a solid performance out of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 20 saves and stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout for his 21st victory of the season. He battled his way through the game and showed that when injuries amount, as the Blueshirts lost Dan Girardi (after fighting Andrew Ladd to stick up for his defense partner Marc Staal) and Brandon Prust (blocked a shot in the first period off his right shot) in the game, good goaltending can still win you hockey games.
This was an extremely gutsy victory for a team needing a win in a big way as injuries continue to add up. They continue to work hard and just do not quit, which is why they continue to pick up points when they need to.
What else can be said about Zuccarello? Zuccarello is now three for three in the shootout and is showing that he can be a go to guy in the “skills competition.” He is also a young player that continues to get better every game and is showing the organization that he belongs in the NHL.
As for the injuries, it is obviously not yet known what exactly the severity is but I am sure that team beat writers will have more on it either later tonight or sometime tomorrow. One can only hope that it is very, very little time missed because the Blueshirts cannot afford to lose any more players to injury.
With that said, it’s on to the positive: the Rangers won a crucial road game and picked up two important points to keep pace in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
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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 email@example.com.