Rick Nash celebrates a win in return his to Columbus (GIF)
It was an emotional contest for Rick Nash in his first game back in Nationwide Arena.
Rick Nash has been a member of the New York Rangers for the better part of two seasons now (although his first year was lockout shortened). And while in his tenure for the Rangers has proven Nash possesses an elite skill level, there have been times when it seems like the all-star forward plays without the same level of emotion.
But not on Friday night.
Nash and the Rangers took on the Blue Jackets at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, and besides the major playoff implications at hand, it was Nash's first trip back to the city that drafted him, and where he spent his entire career up until the trade.
And the reactions were mixed. Nash was booed at the onset as soon as he touched the puck, and then cheered for for an extended period after a video montage in the first.
And there was more hockey left to be played, which included a fight early in the third period for Nash (only the seventh of his 11-year NHL career), and a pretty spirited celebration on the bench in the third period after Carl Hagelin sealed the win with an empty net goal.
Again, during his brief career as a Ranger, Nash has been devoid that level of outward, visible fire. On a night where he was challenged both physically and emotionally, it was pure reaction on his part after battling all night, and realizing the Rangers would come away with a key two points.