The Washington Post

Rangers’ Rick Nash has done everything except score vs. the Flyers

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The New York Rangers lead the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, in their first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series, but so far Rangers  forward Rick Nash has yet to chip in much offense.

“He’s got to keep working,” New York Coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s got to try and elevate his game.”

Nash has played almost 19 minutes per game in this series and has generated 27 shot attempts in the five games: 19 at even strength and eight on the power play, an average slightly higher that during the regular season (5.1 shot attempts per game). So, game elevated. In fact, if Nash converted on his attempts at the same rate as he did during the regular season (7.8 percent) we would be looking at two goals in five games, on par with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Anaheim’s Corey Perry and New York teammate Martin St. Louis.

So why hasn’t he scored? One reason: some bad puck luck.

Here is Nash putting a shot on net during Friday’s game. He is right at the doorstep but Steve Mason is able to make the stop.

In Game 2, Nash generates another shot from the scoring chance area, but this time Ray Emery is able to turn it away.

Another reason for the lack of goals is Nash has been setting up linemate Derek Stepan, like this cross-ice pass in Game 3.

“He’s an elite player and he makes great plays,” Stepan said. “Don’t let yourself get fooled by his stats this season. He makes a lot of good plays. Fortunately I’ve been on the other end of a couple of them.”

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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