The New York Rangers were able to snap a four-game slide by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 last night at Madison Square Garden. Although Henrik Lundqvist (25 saves) and Ryan Callahan (ceremonial Broadway Hat) played great and earned the accolades after the game, it was actually Rick Nash who was the best skater on the ice last night.
Nash came back from an undisclosed injury in which some suspect was a concussion. He was able to speed around the ice and get in every play while providing the spark the Rangers have lacked in a few games. At this point in the season, Nash has played in only 15 games for the blueshirts and leads the team in points with 14.
Against the Lightning, Nash recorded one goal, one assist, put 12 pucks on the net and was able to get others involved with his keen distribution. Head Coach John Tortorella received good play from everyone who has returned from injury including Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh (two assist), yet it was Nash who became the eye opener. Afterward, he stated, “Nash had what, 20 shots himself tonight?” John Tortorella said. “You get him, McDonagh, Del Zotto — they’re three main cogs. And Nash immediately had an impact.”
The impact was much needed as the Rangers looked every bit the team they were supposed to look like going into this season. Although the power play is still the worst in the NHL with an 11.9 percent success rate (8 of 67), Marc Staal added a power play goal and their penalty-killing unit has been solid.
This was exactly the type of confidence-building win the Rangers needed in order to right the ship that sits just on the outside looking in at the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. With more group efforts such as what fans saw against the Lightning, the Rangers just may begin to make the run that has eluded them.
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Craig Moir is a New York Rangers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmoir727. “Like” him on Facebook at CraigMoirRants, add him to your network on Google+ or follow all of his writing on NetworkedBlogs