Hey, remember when everyone was burying New York Rangers winger Rick Nash?
OK, to be fair, his postseason struggles were starting to border on their weird. It’s not as if these were isolated incidents, as he’s now at 59 career playoff games (with No. 60 coming in Game 7 on Friday).
Whatever the case may be, the 30-year-old is firing on all cylinders all of a sudden. While Nash and the Rangers failed to score on Ben Bishop in Game 5, the power forward has otherwise been making up for lost time. Including last night’s four-point performance, seven of his 14 playoff points came in Games 4 and 6.
He really seems to be asserting himself overall, too, as he has five shots on goal in three straight games.
There’s a solid chance that Nash is just trying to supply standard answers when asked about his recent successes, yet it’s also plausible that he’s getting a dig or two in on his critics by chalking up much of his recent breaks to sticking with the gameplan (and playing stout defense).
That brings us to the chicken-and-the-egg argument regarding how much of his success comes from the red-hot work of linemates Derick Brassard and J.T. Miller.
All three forwards made some beautiful music together in Game 6, so it’s likely a collaborative effort. Brassard pegs Miller as the “energizer bunny” of the trio, which made for a fairly amusing interplay between the young forward and Pierre McGuire:
Much like Nash, Miller’s teammates have noticed his efforts even if it took some time for the results to really come, as Brassard noted to the New York Daily News.
“His attitude for the past two weeks, he’s been working really hard,” Brassard said. “I can remember the day when I was saying (J.T.) is really close to making a difference here and being on the board. And Rick was a beast.”
There’s also, uh, this.
A week ago, many believed that Nash’s confidence was shattered; now his line is being described as New York’s answer to “The Triplets.” (Hey, it’s not like there’s anything identical about Tampa Bay’s trio, right?)
Nash would be the first to note how quickly things can turn … but at the moment, he is silencing his critics.