Time for Nash to rise
For the Blueshirts, this means that the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Brad Richards, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Derek Stepan must all be at their best. Notice, however, that one of their star players is missing from this list.
Rick Nash, a player that was supposed to be a goal-scoring machine for the Blueshirts when they acquired him after the 2011-12 season, has been anything but that and has seemed to shy away in big games.
That has been the case in his team's first round series. In six games, Nash has just four assists and has yet to score a goal.
While the assists are certainly nice, that is not what Nash is being paid to do for this Rangers' hockey team. The team is paying him to score goals not only in the regular season, but also in the postseason when it matters most.
It is not like Nash hasn't had any scoring chances in this series. In fact, Nash is second on the team with 25 shots on goal and is averaging just over four shots per game.
With that said, however, Nash simply is not cashing in on his opportunities. He is doing what he can to drive to the net to get quality scoring chances, but in the end, he is either getting stopped by the Flyers' goaltender or is losing control of the puck.
When Nash is on his game, he is one of the most exciting players in the game. He is able to use his body to drive the net and is able to beat goaltenders with his quick and accurate shot.
Unfortunately, the Rangers have seen very little of that Nash in this series. Instead, they have seen flashes of this Nash, but never the whole thing.
Nash can change the way he is viewed with a big performance tonight in his second career Game 7 in the NHL postseason. Yes, setting up his teammates would definitely be one way of coming through for his hockey club, but that is not necessarily what his team needs from him.
Tonight, the Rangers need Nash to put the puck in the net. When Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Evgeni Malkin was struggling to score goals in his club's first round series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he went out and scored a hat trick in his team's series-clinching victory in Game 6.
Nash needs to go out and have that kind of performance tonight. No, he does not need to pick-up a hat trick or anything like that, but a big goal would certainly be timely for this Rangers' team tonight.
With everything on the line tonight for his hockey club, it is time for Nash to pick-up the slack and start doing what he is supposed to do and that's putting the puck in the net.