Last year one of the main stories around the New York Rangers playoff run was Rick Nash not being able to score. Heading into the Post-Season this time around the Rangers are hoping that Nash could get the monkey off his back and start to find the back of the net.
Last year the Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Final with Rick Nash recording just 10 points in 25 games. Even though he wasn’t scoring, the big winger was working relentlessly by clogging up lanes, finishing his body checks, and going hard to the net. Still, the Rangers went out to and got Nash hoping that he could be an offensive force that could win them games when they mattered most, and this year he gets another chance to prove he could get the job done.
Nash came into the 2014-2015 season like a man on a mission. Alain Vigneault told Pat Leonard of the Daily News about Nash coming into camp back in September, “Rick’s come in here, every practice he has been focused, paying attention. He’s paying attention to the details on the ice, working extremely hard. This camp, compared to the one he had last year, I’ve had him twice, night and day.”
Nash ended the season by posting 69 points in 79 games played, and for a while was chasing Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead in goal scoring. Nash was a force all over the ice for the Rangers this past regular season. He ended the year a +29, he tied for second in the league in short handed goals with 4, and he finished the year with 32 even strength goals, good for 1st in NHL. Nash has helped the Rangers on several fronts, which is why he won the Rangers team MVP award.
This is one of my favorite goals of the year, you can see Nash read the play, blow by the defender, and then make a move to score.
What to Expect
Nash steps up his physical play during the playoffs, last year in 25 playoff games Nash threw 45 hits, to put that in perspective, Nash has thrown 45 hits in 79 games this season. He’s no Dustin Brown, but he certainly uses his frame well. The Rangers gave Nash games 81 and 82 off to get some energy back for what the Rangers hope is a long playoff run. So don’t expect his physical play to diminish.The Rangers will take comfort in knowing that even if Nash isn’t scoring, he will help however he can, Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault told Dan Rosen of NHL.com back in June of 2014, during the Stanley Cup final, about Nash’s well rounded play, “Rick has been playing some real good hockey…He’s competing. He’s using his size. He’s done some great defensive plays for us.”
Nash wasn’t finding the net during last years post-season run, but the fact is that he was working his but off to help the team win, and that 200 foot mentality has carried over into this season. Having seen Nash in two post-seasons, I can say that he finds a certain intensity. He drives hard to the net constantly, finishes all his hits, and back checks like a man possessed. I can understand when fans get mad at star players who aren’t scoring, but it is hard to justify staying mad at Nash when you see how hard he works.
Nash has now played in 41 career playoff games, so he knows whats coming. I expect Nash to have a productive post-season, he will be good all over the ice, but in the end his skill will shine through and he will be an offensive force for the Rangers, he is too good of a teammate and a player not to have offensive success at some point.
Here are some of Nash’s best moments of the regular season.