The New York Rangers made a huge splash in free agency last summer and are continuing to see huge benefits from their signing of former Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash. Since returning from a four-game absence Nash has scored in three straight games and helped the Rangers get back on track. The Rangers lost all four games that Nash missed and are just now getting back on track in the Atlantic Division standings. All four of Nash’s goals in the past three games have come in the third period, and when the four-game point streak he had before his injury is added on, he now has points in his last seven appearances.
Nash had two third period goals in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday despite only taking two shots on goal. He had a power play goal against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday and also assisted on Derek Stepan’s third period goal. With Brad Richards expected to miss a second straight game tonight due to an injury suffered in the game against the Sabres, getting a big contribution from Nash is even more important to the team’s success. The injury to Richards will likely have Nash joined on the top line by Stepan and Carl Hagelin, as Marian Gaborik, J.T. Miller and Ryan Callahan team up for a dangerous second scoring line. A win against the New York Islanders tonight would help the Rangers continue to solidify a playoff spot and move them to second in their division if the New Jersey Devils fall to the Sabres. The Islanders give up the second-most goals per game in the league, so look for Nash’s hot streak to continue tonight.