Hockey News: Shero to the Devils; Where is Rick Nash and the Rangers Offence?

What’s the deal with Rick Nash? Oh right, it’s the playoffs. Everything’s normal. [Pro Hockey Talk]. Nash has played in 41 career NHL playoff games prior to this season. He’s got five goals in that span, an astounding statistic for a player who has 378 regular season NHL goals. And this year, things started off very well for Nash. He looked like a rejuvenated player after a disappointing playoff campaign last year. He was driving hard to the net, he looked lightning quick on his skates, he was barreling through defenses, and going to the tough areas to find loose pucks. He finished he year with 42 goals. A career high. But, so far this postseason, he’s got just one goal.

Rick Nash [photo: Amy Irvin]
Rick Nash [photo: Amy Irvin]
Now Nash certainly isn’t the first star to disappear in these playoffs. It took Steven Stamkos nine games to score his first postseason goal, while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were essentially invisible in their first round series. But unlike the Penguins, the Rangers are deep enough and talented enough to win the Stanley Cup, but they are going to need some contributions from a game-breaker like Nash. The Rangers scored more than two goals just once in their series vs Pittsburgh, and that came in a game 2 loss. In three games so far against the Caps, they’ve scored four goals total, and this isn’t all on Nash obviously.

In the regular season the Rangers ranked third in the league with 248 goals for, an average of 3.02 goals per game. But for some reason that hasn’t carried over into the playoffs. (The loss of Mats Zuccarello doesn’t help either).

Martin St. Louis has been a ghost these playoffs. He has zero goals and two assists through eight games. J.T Miller has no goals. Kevin Hayes has just one, while Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan have two a piece. The team is tied for 14th place among playoff teams in goals for, and that includes teams that have been eliminated. Only the Penguins scored less goals than the Rangers thus far. That’s a frightening statistic. Their goal scoring drought has come at the worst possible time. And the Washington Capitals aren’t the injury depleted, limping Penguins that the Rangers easily ousted in five games. The Caps have a strong defensive structure, their goalie is playing fantastic and they look unstoppable at times.

The Rangers prided themselves on deep team scoring, they had eight players with at least 15 goals. But Nash was the catalyst on offence. He had double the goals as the next highest scorer on the team. (Kreider and St.Louis had 21 goals each). If the Rangers lose this series, it will be for a startling problem, which is a lack of offence. But blaming Rick Nash isn’t the answer, because this is what he does. The Rangers team as a whole is letting themselves down. That’s the real story here.

(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

More on Nash’s goal-scoring woes: [National Post] and [CBS Local]

In other news…

Ray Shero is the new General Manager of the New Jersey Devils. The Penguins, as is usually the case when Shero is involved, will not be getting a draft pick. [Pensburgh], [New York Post] and [Pens Labyrinth]

So either the Flames truly believe they can come back in this series, or they just want to Ducks to think they do. [The Score]

Should the Caroline Hurricanes go with Mitch Marner? [Bleacher Report]

Did Jamie Benn deserve a Hart Trophy nomination? [Today’s Slap Shot]

Latest on the situation between Brandon Prust and referee Brad Watson. [Sportsnet]. Will Prust now have a target on his back? [Puck Daddy]

Brandon Prust (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)
Brandon Prust (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Seems kind of soon to give up on a top prospect. [Hockey Feed]

Not everyone is enjoying the World Hockey Championships. [Hockey Buzz]

Somehow, the American’s are still undefeated. Easily the story of the tournament so far. [USA Today]

Slava Voynov’s trial is still ongoing. [LA Kings Insider] and [Hockey Feed]

And finally, find out what made the Lighting who they are today. [Sportsnet] and [Eye on Hockey]