Could the Rangers really reach the Cup final? Could Rick Nash really score a goal?


My column from The Journal News and

By Rick Carpiniello

Who knew that fingers have minds of their own?

It took the longest time for me to get mine to type this: Rangers in 6.

The problem wasn’t the Rangers’ ghosts and ghouls who may or may not have moved from the Montreal Forum to the new arena in 1996, or whatever Montreal curse may or may not inhabit Henrik Lundqvist’s mind.

The problem certainly wasn’t that Montreal is decidedly better. I’ve thought all along the Rangers were a tick above the Canadiens in the Eastern food chain, and now that they’ve both knocked off the two favorites, Pittsburgh and Boston in Game 7s on the road in the previous round, well that hasn’t changed.

No, the problem with picking the Rangers in 6 is:

First, the Rangers never win in six games. Their last five series wins have all gone seven.

Second, and more importantly, Rangers in 6 (or 7 or whatever) means that this team, which looked so flawed for so long, and even during this playoff run at times, so inconsistent, is going to the Stanley Cup final.

That’s an awful lot to swallow and digest.

But Rangers in 6.

With caveats. Or tail-covering. One of them is, obviously, all bets being off if Lundqvist really is spooked by that arena and that loud, signing crowd. I don’t think he will be.

The other is Rick Nash.

How is it possible that the Rangers have won three seven-game playoff series the last two springs without him scoring even once? Not once. His only goal in 26 playoff games as a Ranger came in the five-game series loss to Boston last May.

Imagining the Rangers winning another series without goals from Nash, that’s a tough one.

Nash, early in the Philadelphia series, then in Game 7, and in Games 5, 6 and 7 vs. Pittsburgh, has been noticeable. Has been good with the puck at times, good without it a lot. His penalty killing, since the Olympics, has been outstanding. In other games in the first two rounds he wasn’t close to good enough, and when the Rangers lose and have trouble scoring, it comes back to him.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, before boarding a plane to Montreal Friday, said that in the team’s statistical analysis, Nash has been the best player in terms of chances for and chances against while a given player is on the ice.

Part of that is that, yes, Nash’s line with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider, has been good defensively, and has had the puck a lot, especially since Kreider returned from hand surgery and replaced Martin St. Louis.

Part of it is that the gameplan against Ray Emery, Steve Mason, then Marc-Andre Fleury, was to get pucks to the net from everywhere, and Nash has followed that plan, though others haven’t, and fired whenever possible (he leads the NHL with 52 playoff shots on goal).

So statistics tell some truths and some lies.

Your eyes tell you Nash doesn’t do all that is necessary to score goals, understandable after two concussions. And your common sense tells you a $7.8 million scorer who doesn’t score isn’t getting it done.

“I’m trying every night to score goals, put pucks in the back of the net, but it’s a bigger picture than me and me struggling,” Nash said. “This is about a team trying to win a championship and there’s a bunch of little pieces that go into that, and if I can help defensively right now then I’m going to do everything I can just to win games.

“I’m overdue,” he said. “I’d definitely say overdue, yeah.”

If he can find even a few goals the next two weeks, maybe my fingers will even believe: Rangers in 6.

Twitter: @RangersReport

Photo by Getty Images.


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  1. ” Rangers in 6 (or 7 or whatever) means that this team, which looked so flawed for so long, and even during this playoff run at times, so inconsistent, is going to the Stanley Cup final.”

    Do you believe in miracles?

  2. iManny-O-War on

    NYR: why are you rooting for the Kings and using nicknames for them?

    I love you and don’t want to puke on you

  3. Gutsy move to go for the poke check in a Game 7, although Perry took the pill too close. Fair play to Quick!

  4. Stranger Nation on

    Cam fowler with some great D, not – time to hear about the Ranger draft picks?

  5. Manny, the Kings are my darkhouse to win it all and I picked them in my bracket. I also am a big fan of Marian Gaborik, as he is one of the best goal scorers in NY Rangers history and was a good Ranger. Jon Quick is from CT and Dustin Brown is from NY. Go USA. Also, Doughty is a one of the purest all-around d-men I’ve ever seen. And, Kopitar is pure talent and size with amazing passing capability. They are very much fun to watch and I look forward to watching them beat Chicago in 7.

  6. iManny-O-War on

    Meh. Weak excuse(s), NYR. I still love you. But rooting at all for another team when the Rangers are still breathing is very sad to me.

  7. I just love playoff hockey, Manny. If the Kings were to collapse and lose, I wouldn’t cry. It’s just being a fan of their players and their skills, I don’t care aboot LA the city or the franchise….

  8. gregm_oldsection403 on

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, yeh it’s a just duck. 4-0 kings.

  9. Imagine Daryl Sutter talking dirty in bed.

    “I wubba put it in the bubba, no use rubba, wubba, bubba”

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, Daryl Sutter looks like a Lord Of The Rings character.


  10. Enjoyed the article, Carp.

    Hope Rick can find the twine, sure would help raise his trade value.

  11. Lol, Orr.

    Kings look like they have an extra skater all night, but that PP was sweet.

  12. If the Kings win, then the top six teams in the league have been eliminated from the playoffs.

    Bruins, Ducks, Avs, Blues, Sharks, Pens. Gotta ♥ the NHL! Unpredictable! Even though it’s the same WCF as last year, I wasn’t expecting that!

  13. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Lucic – “I will decapitate you. I will rip your heart, livers, gall bladders, lung, kidney, and eyeballs out of your head. I will crush you until you are air. I will kill everyone you ever knew. I will not stop killing even after you’re dead. I hate you.”

  14. Rob in Beantown on

    I just don’t feel right picking a Rangers win in this series. Habs in 6 feels like a much more “comfortable” pick, so I’m going with that.

  15. Remember last week, when pens and Bs fans were wondering who they were going to play in the final?

    I’ve been going out of my way to run into those I know.

  16. LA is starting to look like they did 2 years ago when they steamrolled every team on the way to the Cup

    They lost three consecutive games to fall behind 3-2 in this series.

  17. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Let the Kings and Hawks do a “Lucic” on each other in the WCF.

    *Rangers win the cup in 6*

  18. We should try and trade Nash in the offseason…get those picks back….maybe even get a reliable winger back too.

  19. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rangers, as a team, going to MSL’s mom’s funeral. Building tremendous love for one another. Don’t underestimate how tight this team has become. in hockey, it’s everything.

    *This is our Year*

  20. maybe someone can find this video
    of Drew Doughty talking about being a
    and how he relishes that and uses it as an
    opportunity to play at a higher level.
    i’m reminded of that EVERY time
    he plays now
    sid and his media apologists/idiots
    (“get him a goon!”)

  21. No, not like Gaborik, Manny…but thanks.

    btw, Manny… I was in the city today and saw someone who looked like you…only, she was less hairy and not as fat as you :P

  22. HAwks man handled kings last year dont expect much diff this year.

    Kings struggle in matchup

  23. I wonder what kind of threats Corey Perry will make in the handshake line after his Canards are sent packing.

  24. “I wonder what kind of threats Corey Perry will make in the handshake line after his Canards are sent packing.”

    Perry to Muzzin: “Quack quack quack, quack.”

  25. Wouldn’t it be funny if Teemu came back next year?

    Joe M “Teemu is one of the best people on the earth”…yeah Joe cuz you met every person on this earth…schmuck

  26. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    2021-22 : and Selanne says one last goodbye. 50 years old and this will be his last game…

  27. Everyone in hockey is a “Great Human Being” and “Class Act” for Joe Micheletti.

  28. ECF: 1: Sat. at Mon. 2: Mon. at Mon. 3: Thurs at MSG. 4: Sun 5/25 at MSG. 5: Tues. 5/27, at Mon. 6: Thurs 5/29 at MSG. 7: Sat 5/31 at Mon.

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