Google the name “Rick Nash” with the phrase “get inside” and you get over 20,000 matches.
That should tell you something about 1) how closely Nash is put under the microscope and 2) what many believe he has to do in order to score goals.
That includes him.
“You just have to keep trying to get on the inside,” Nash said, per NHL.com. “I can’t allow my game to be completely on the outside. I have to get to the inside; that’s the biggest thing. You can always do more. There’s always more I can do to try to score.”
Nash has only scored once in these playoffs, despite registering 25 shots. That stat line is reminiscent of last year’s, when he scored just three goals on 83 shots in the postseason, as well as the year’s before that, when he had just one goal on 42 shots.
In his career, Nash has just six playoff goals on 163 shots, for a remarkably low shooting percentage of 3.7. In the regular season, his career shooting percentage is dramatically higher, at 12.5.
“When I look at our personnel and at who can do the net-front presence and still be able to tip pucks, take some checks in front and maybe slide some pucks in, I look at [Chris Kreider] and [Nash],” coach Alain Vigneault said, per the New York Post.
Of course, that’s easier said than done in the playoffs, when teams protect the front of the net with more gusto and the officials tend to let more of the gusto go.
It’s also easier said than done against the Capitals, who boast some pretty big boys on the back end.
Game 3 of Caps-Rangers goes tonight in D.C. The series is tied 1-1.