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Zuccarello shoots Rangers past Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- Mats Zuccarello's second goal of the game gave the New York Rangers a 5-4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

The Rangers (31-16-5) ended a two-game losing streak to start a four-game road trip.

Toronto (23-28-4) lost its first game since ending an 11-game losing streak with a 5-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Zuccarello broke a 4-4 tie with 5:56 remaining in the third period on a wrist shot through a crowd from the slot.

Zuccarello, who played on a line with Rick Nash, who is tied for the NHL lead with 33 goals, and Derick Brassard, finished with five shots on goal. He has been asked by the Rangers coaching staff to shoot the puck more often but said it isn't easy because he is a pass-first player.

"When you have Nash coming down the ice with you, and he has 30 goals and I have just seven (now 10), there is a better chance for our team [to score] if he gets the puck," Zuccarello said. "Sometimes I shoot the puck and good things happen like tonight. I know I should shoot more and I have been trying to, but sometimes if I see a pass I am going to make the pass."

The Rangers took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by defenseman Dan Boyle with a quick shot from the slot at 2:57, and Zuccarello's first at 10:37 on a setup by Nash, who had three assists.

Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly made it 2-1 at 15:39 on a power play. He skated into the slot and beat New York goalie Cam Talbot with a high wrist shot.

New York led 3-1 at 1:42 of the second period when Kevin Hayes slammed a shot past Toronto goalie James Reimer from the side of the goal, but 26 seconds later Toronto defenseman Stephane Robidas struck with a long floater from the left point that seemed to fool Talbot.

New York's Dominic Moore scored his fifth goal of the season at 10:33 with Brassard off for tripping. Moore corralled the puck in the Toronto zone, turned and fired a long shot that handcuffed Reimer. It was Moore's second shorthanded goal of the season.

The Maple Leafs scored two goals early in the third period to make it 4-4. Rielly, who scored on an end-to-end rush against Edmonton, scored at 20 seconds when he cruised into the slot from the left point and again beat Talbot with a high shot.

Left wing Daniel Winnik scored at 6:46 when his shot from behind the Rangers net hit New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh and bounced past Talbot.

"We got off to a good start tonight, and then when they battled back we pushed back," Boyle said. "It starts our trip off on the right foot and gives us something to build on. It builds the confidence and hopefully it is contagious and the confidence grows and we start playing better."

Rielly said there were some positives the Maple Leafs could take from the loss.

"We're not happy with the way the game went in terms of the way the game was played," Rielly said. "We didn't play our style, but we didn't give up and we gave ourselves a chance to win. We just weren't able to execute at the end, but that's hockey. Going forward I think we can be happy with the way we worked. That is important."

Toronto coach Peter Horachek was not pleased.

"We didn't deserve to win," he said. "When we have 10 chances after two periods and they have 23, that's not the way to win games.

"I was pretty disappointed in the whole team after two periods. That was awful. They totally outworked us for two periods. We didn't win battles and put ourselves in a bad situation. We had four goals in the game, and that should be enough to win, but it certainly wasn't."

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