30° Good Afternoon
30° Good Afternoon

Rangers' Mats Zuccarello scores twice in 5-1 rout of Canucks

New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello gets

New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello gets up close to Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller as he sends a shot past him during the second period of an NHL game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Credit: AP / Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Using speed and quickness, the Rangers opened a four-game road trip with a bang Saturday night, routing the Canucks, 5-1.

Mats Zuccarello scored twice and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal each contributed his first goal of the season for the Rangers, who took a 3-0 lead on only four shots less than seven minutes into the game.

Henrik Lundqvist wasn't really tested through two periods by Vancouver, which returned from a 14-day road trip on Wednesday.

The rested Rangers (13-10-4) will take their two-game winning streak to Edmonton to face the Oilers Sunday night. They will end the three-game Western Canada swing in Calgary on Tuesday.

Winning 5-0 after 40 minutes, the Rangers -- who had given up smaller leads in eight games this season -- didn't fold, although Nick Bonino spoiled Lundqvist's shutout bid when he wristed a shot over his glove at 4:20 of the third period. Lundqvist made 14 of his 29 saves in the final period.

Said Lundqvist, "You can tell that we had the jump tonight. That's the way we have to play. It's important for us to step up here and get on a roll. We've been doing a good job staying positive."

In the first 6:46 of the game, the Rangers blew by the Canucks on odd-man rushes and scored three times on four shots. With multiple short passes to escape their zone and trigger transitions, nine different players earned a point in the blitz.

Said Staal: "I don't know what their game plan was, but they came out really aggressive on us and they got caught. I thought all night long we were really good with the puck, supporting each other, and that's the way we play fast. You jump into holes where you can get the puck. When everyone wants the puck, it makes it a lot easier."

Said Lundqvist: "We talked about [their defensemen] pinching. I didn't think they were going to go that hard every time, and we made them pay. When we haven't played for a few days, to get that kind of start is always helpful."

After a steal by Dominic Moore, Jesper Fast sped down the right side, pulled up and found McDonagh cutting to the left post for a goal at 2:36.

J.T. Miller's backhander off a pass from Derek Stepan made it 2-0 at 3:19. It was Miller's third goal in five games since he was recalled from the AHL.

Next came Zuccarello's first goal in six games off a pass from Rick Nash to make it 3-0. The assist stretched Nash's point streak to nine games. Derick Brassard also got an assist to extend his point streak to five games.

Canucks goalie Ryan Miller, jeered by the fans after an easy save, had to make difficult stops on break-ins by McDonagh and Carl Hagelin, or the margin could have been greater.

The Rangers made it 4-0 at 7:17 of the second period. Kevin Hayes hung on to the puck in the Canucks' zone long enough to find Staal at the left point, and his blast beat Miller. Staal's last regular-season goal was outdoors on Jan. 26 against the Devils at Yankee Stadium. His last goal indoors was on Nov. 11, 2013.

With 7:33 left,Martin St. Louis was awarded a penalty shot on a breakaway, but Miller stopped it with his blocker after St. Louis went wide left and had a sharp angle for his attempt.

Zuccarello scored his second at the doorstep at 17:39 off precise passes. Nash spun at the blue line and found Brassard, who hit Zuccarello in stride.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of the fast start: "We knew that their Ds were part of their forecheck and we were fortunate to make a couple good plays on the wall that led to out-numbered situations, and our guys buried them."

Said Stepan: "We did a good job executing . . . coming out of our zone. And when they had a little pushback in the third, we were able to fight that."

New York Sports