New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game One

Rangers’ Nash: ‘I didn’t think it would take 10 years’


Prior to this season, Rick Nash’s playoff experience in the National Hockey League totaled four games.

Those all came in the spring of 2009, when Nash and his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, were swept in the first round.

Nash, now a member of the New York Rangers, is off to the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.

On Monday, the Rangers dismantled the Washington Capitals on the road by a score of 5-0.

Nash recorded an assist on Michael Del Zotto’s goal in the early stages of the second period that gave the Rangers a commanding 3-0 cushion.

Nash and the Rangers are moving on to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins. Original Six.

It’s also another chapter in the historic and ongoing rivalry between Boston and New York.

This is unfamiliar territory for the former first overall pick from the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

“I didn’t think it would take 10 years,” Nash told the New York Times. “It’s what I wanted in my career, to have a chance to play in the playoffs and to play in games that mean a lot.”

Now, the key will be to get the 28-year-old Nash going offensively.

He didn’t score a goal the entire series against the Capitals and had just two assists.

Dating back to 2009, Nash only has one goal and five points in 11 career NHL playoff games.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks