The battered and bruised Blueshirts finally relented in recalling Mats Zuccarelllo from the AHL's Connecticut Whale.
The diminuitive winger, who had an excellent training camp with the Rangers but lasted only three games before being sent down to the minors, has averaged almost one point per game in Hartford. The 24-year-old Norway native has 12 goals and 24 assists in 37 games with the Whale this season.
"Everyone wants to be here so of course I was a little disappointed and all that but at the same time, if I'm not good enough or the team doesn't need a player like me, that's something I can't control," Zuccarello said of his early-season demotion. "The only thing I can control is to go down in Hartford and play hard and be ready when the chance comes."
Zuccarello will inject the Rangers with some much-needed fresh legs Sunday, when they begin a seven-game homestand against the Islanders. The Rangers have dropped three straight heading into tonight's contest and are battling injuries both up front with Ryan Callahan (right foot) and on the back end with Michael Del Zotto (right hip). Brandon Dubinsky, however, is expected to return after missing the past two games with sinus issues.
Before the game coach John Tortorella said he plans on using Zuccarello on the power-play and, if the game goes to the shootout as well.
Assuming Dubinsky makes it through pre-game warm-ups without incident, it will be hulking enforcer John Scott that comes out of the lineup.