Zuke contributes after call-up

March, 11, 2012
3/11/12
11:41
PM ET
Called up to play his first game for the Rangers in almost five months, Mats Zuccarello chipped in with an assist in the Rangers' 4-3 OT win over the Islanders Sunday.

In need of fresh legs and some fresh looks, coach John Tortorella used the diminutive Norwegian forward on the team's first power-play unit, where he picked up a secondary helper on Brad Richards' second power-play goal of the night at 16:03 of the second.

"I think Zuke helped it," Tortorella said of the team's power play, which tallied on three of six attempts. "I think some guys were surprised by some of his passes. He's a big part of the winning goal. ... it's good for him and it certainly helped us tonight."

Zuccarello, who was summoned Sunday with captain Ryan Callahan still battling a bruised right foot, and played 6:34 on the man-advantage compared to only 4:06 at even-strength but said that presented no problems for him.

"Every time you get out there, you just want to do your best, whether you play 20 minutes or 10 minutes, just have the same thought in mind. Just do what you can," he said.

Sunday was Zuccarello's fourth game with the Rangers this season; he has 12 goals and 24 assists in 37 games for the AHL's Connecticut Whale.

"He's a smart player," said Richards, who scored two of the team's three power-play goals. "With that much ice, he's very effective out there. He's a heady player. He made some great plays and doesn't panic with it."
Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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