Through four games, the Washington Capitals have successfully shut down the New York Rangers‘ offensive weapon, Rick Nash. The Rangers have been putting up a good fight against the Capitals in this first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but they need Nash to do what he does best if they want to succeed.
The Rangers’ prized offseason acquisition was a goal-machine who led the Rangers in scoring with 21 goals in the regular season. Through four games in the series, he has zero goals. He still leads all players in this series with 17 shots on net, but has been unable to get a goal.
The Capitals have made it difficult for Nash to get anything going by cutting his space off, calling for double-teams and defensive collapses on the forward—it also doesn’t help that Nash’s minutes have plummeted in each game.
With the Rangers and Capitals tied at two games apiece entering Game 5 Friday in Washington, it is imperative that Nash find some way to start scoring—especially going into the Verizon Center where the Rangers are 3-9 in four playoff series in the past five years.
The Rangers have done a good job of spreading out the scoring with Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Derick Brassasrd, Brian Boyle and Arron Asham, but it’s difficult to imagine the Rangers eliminating the Capitals if Nash remains scoreless.