Rick Nash Beginning to Play at Elite Level for New York Rangers

Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

You can point out a myriad of reasons why the New York Rangers have struggled this season. One that immediately comes to mind is the lackluster play of the team’s top forward, Rick Nash.

Up until Monday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he only tallied seven goals on the season. Granted, he missed over a month with a concussion. When he was on the ice, though, he did not play up to the astronomical standards he has been held to since he first arrived on Broadway.

Now, this appears to be changing, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Rangers. Nash is playing with more confidence and is involved with every single play. He is no longer simply trying to make fancy moves with one hand. He is putting the puck on net and being assertive in the offensive zone.

Monday night, Nash scored two power play goals, including the game-tying one midway through the third period. This is the Nash the Rangers traded for, and this is the Nash they need the rest of the season.

Despite a difficult loss to the Blue Jackets, Nash was the best player on the ice for the Rangers. If the rest of his team can finish like he did tonight, then it bodes extremely well for the Rangers’ chances going forward. Not to take anything away from the performances of Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider this season, but they should not be the Rangers’ best forwards. Nash should be.

The question is, can the elite Nash show up every game the rest of the season?

Matt Stillwell is a New York Rangers contributor for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattNYR12, “like” him on Facebook and connect with him on Google Plus for all NYR news and notes!

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