Last night was why the New York Rangers traded three players and a first round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for star forward Rick Nash. Nash made his presence felt on the ice last night, and showed off some moves that are worthy of the Rick Nash Youtube highlight reel. While Nash may only have three goals on the season, it is not for lack of effort. In almost every game, Nash has made his presence felt. Nash has come ridiculously close on numerous occasions and could easily have five more goals if some shots were pulled off a little cleaner or didn’t deflect off of teammates. Still, with the goal totals down, Nash does have seven assists, and no assist was more beautiful than the one he had on Carl Hagelin’s goal last night up in Boston.
It was halfway through the first period, and Rick Nash picked up the puck and charged into the Bruins zone. Nash was being tightly defended by Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. Another defenseman was next to Ference, watching every move Nash made. As Ference went in close to try to knock the puck away, Nash pulled off an amazing move, dropping the puck back to himself. Nash could have ripped a shot, but Ference tripped him. As he was falling down, Nash had the hand eye coordination to make a sliding pass to teammate Carl Hagelin, who was left wide open in front of the net. Hagelin shot the pass into the goal and celebrated. Nash may not have scored the goal, but he was a big time play maker in setting up Hagelin.
The Rangers would go on to have a 3-0 lead, but in hockey no lead is safe. Teams have to play a full 60 minutes, and the Rangers saw the Bruins cut into their lead 3-1 with over 11 minutes left in the third. Later in the third, the Bruins pulled the goalie and twice scored to tie it up, one goal coming around 1:30 left to play and the other around :40 seconds. The unthinkable had happened, and every Rangers fan was left disappointed the game the Rangers dominated was headed into overtime.
As the 4 on 4 five minute overtime was coming to an end, I thought to myself “Let’s just get to a shootout”. With Henrik Lundqvist in net and having great shooters like Nash, Gaborik and Richards, the Rangers seemed best poised for a shootout victory. I had a feeling Nash was gonna score, and he did not disappoint! Nash gave the Rangers their first shootout goal with an amazing deke around Bruins goaltender Tukka Rask. Nash sped into the zone and faked to his backhand. Rask followed the move and Nash quickly changed direction, then shot the puck with his forehand, scoring and completely faking out Rask . The videos of his move are posted above and the stick handling Rick Nash can do is pure filth.
For a man who is 6’4, 213 pounds you would think Nash be a slow, more defensive minded player. But Nash is gifted, and his skills can’t be denied. Nash is amazing at stick handling the puck, and uses his big body to shield defenders off of him. Nash can kick it into another gear, and score in an abundance of ways. Nash pulls off some of the best dekes in hockey, and also has a nasty wrist shot to go along with it. Through the Rangers first 12 games, Nash has probably tried too much to set up other players. Coach John Tortorella talked how he wanted Nash to be more selfish, and I agree. Nash needs to rip a few more shots, but if a great pass is there, I certainly don’t mind watching him work his magic and set up a teammate. Nash is still getting used to playing in New York and all of the rivalry games he has been involved in are nothing like he is used to in Columbus. At 28 years old, the sky is the limit for Nash, and I look forward to watching him for years to come.