It is tough for Mats Zuccarello to get upset. Honestly, it is.

“As a person, I’m outgoing and I don’t take everything so seriously,” the diminutive Norwegian said after the team’s 3-2 loss to the Panthers in Florida on Tuesday. “I’m here to have a good time, hopefully play some good hockey and make the playoffs. But it’s important to find that balance of being serious and having fun.”

Don’t take that the wrong way, because Zuccarello was contrite in speaking about the loss, the biggest clunker the Rangers have laid all season. By dropping a game to the NHL-worst Panthers, the Blueshirts (24-18-4) missed a chance at clinching a playoff spot, which could again happen tonight in Carolina against the Hurricanes.

Now in eighth place, they need two points in the final two games to get in, the season finale being Saturday against the Devils in the Garden.

Yet a big reason they even have a chance is Zuccarello, who has added a major boost of energy to the team since coming over from the KHL in late March. In the 13 games he has played, the team is 8-4-1.

“It seems like he’s faster than I remember him,” said Brad Richards, who has centered a line with Zuccarello and Taylor Pyatt that has emerged as a solid contributor in the past week. “He’s on the forecheck, always trying to create something. Obviously, he has great hockey sense.”