After taking Game 3 over the Washington Capitals 4-3, the New York Rangers will be looking to even their first round series at two games apiece with a win tomorrow night in Game 4. In order for the Blueshirts to come back and win the series and then subsequently make a run to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, off-season acquisition Rick Nash is going to have to contribute more than what he has so far.
Previous to this season’s playoffs, Nash had played in one playoff series during the 2008-09 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In that series, which the Columbus Blue Jackets were swept by the Detroit Red Wings, Nash had a goal, two assists, and a plus minus of -4. So far through three games against the Capitals, Nash has an assist and a plus minus of +1. Clearly Nash is going to have to step up and do more than he has if the Rangers are going to overcome the Capitals and advance out of this series, much less win the Stanley Cup.
Nash is without a doubt the best and most offensively talented Rangers player. He led the team with 21 goals scored, and he was brought in via an off-season trade as he was identified as the missing piece to put the Rangers over the hump and help the team win their first Stanley Cup since the 1993-94 season. Therefore, his scoring tally through the first three games is without question not enough. If the Rangers are to advance, Nash will have to find ways to contribute more than he has in the goal and assist department. Nash is considered and viewed as one of the ten best offensive skill players in the NHL, and when you compare what he has done in these playoffs to the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, he is not producing at the same rate and level of those two.
Now let’s hope that the assist in Game 3 on the game winner by Derek Stepan where Nash showed great skill and speed is the beginning of what will be more to come from him for the rest of the series and beyond if they are to advance. Nash was brought in to be that guy that was supposed to be the final puzzle piece and x-factor for the Rangers in the playoffs, and he also made it a point of asking to be traded to a contender in his final days with the Blue Jackets. Keeping this in mind, Rich Nash will have to do a bit more and play more like a superstar for the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup. If he doesn’t step up his play, the Rangers will not advance past the Capitals, much less lift the Stanley Cup in June.