When Rick Nash came to New York he was expected to be a game changer. And during the regular season, he sure as hell was. He scored 21 goals (a 39-goal pace) and 42 points in 44 games (a 78-point pace). But now that we're in the postseason Nash hasn't put up the numbers. He has just a single assist in six playoff games.
What's more alarming, however, is his play. I thought Nash was dominant in Game 1. Eight shots on goal, some really good chances and some awesome puck possession. Since then? It's gotten worse and worse and seemed to hit it's peak in Game 5 when Nash was invisible all night.
The Rangers found offense for two of these fives games. And those eight goals (and two wins) helped mask Nash's offensive issues in the postseason. Not anymore. The Rangers desperately need Nash to find his game. The Rangers desperately need Nash to make an impact. And now with Game 6 being an elimination game, the Rangers desperately need Nash to break out Sunday.
So what's caused the drop? I legitimately believe Nash is injured. Maybe he did seriously injure his leg in Game 3 when he went hard into the boards. Maybe the nagging injuries at the end of the year have caught up to him. Maybe it's something else we don't know about yet.
I refuse to believe that Nash -- who really did have a great regular season -- could fall off so dramatically in the playoffs without there being a reason. But while Nash gets some blame -- although not nearly as much as an injured Marian Gaborik got last year, kind of funny how that works -- others are spared.
Look, Nash is supposed to be the offensive guy. He's not living up to his part of the bargain. Even if he is injured (which to me is a legitimate excuse to not perform, but that's me) he's still not getting the job done and he deserves a share of the blame. Even hurt the Rangers depend on Nash for a lot of their offense, and him not putting up the numbers has put a strain on everyone else.
But he's not the only one dropping the ball.
Ryan Callahan has two assists in five games and hasn't been an offensive factor at all. Brad Richards is still generally playing the same hockey he did in the regular season. Ryane Clowe -- who was brought in to solidify the Rangers for a playoff run -- has only played in one of the six playoff games (I'm not counting Game 5 because he played just two minutes).
In fact, the Rangers best players offensively in this series have been the new guys: Derick Brassard (a goal and five assists in five games) and Mats Zuccarello (three assists in five games). You can throw Carl Hagelin in here, too, but he's been off and on (very good some games and invisible in others).
This is a problem. The Rangers best players have to be their best players. Richards hasn't been all year. Nash hasn't been the past six games. Callahan hasn't been the past six games. That hurts the power play as well but the power play has been a disaster all year.
The lack of offense has cost the Rangers three games in Washington.
I don't have any doubt the Rangers can still win this series. But the lack of goals has been frustrating. Hopefully they figure it out. And soon.
They don't have much time.