Every fanbase has its own version of a whipping boy, someone who, for whatever reason, isn’t reaching the standards set by those who cheer him on. Most of the time the criticism that player receives is hardly justified, but it’s not remotely surprising, considering the irrational place it’s coming from in the first place. When things aren’t going the way you drew it up in your head, it’s human nature to find a scapegoat, forgetting that hockey is a team sport involving 19 players in uniforms.

The direction in which this goes is fascinating; sometimes it’s the team’s best player. Sometimes it’s a supremely gifted star that isn’t perceived to be producing enough, and sometimes, it’s a European player caught in the crossfire. On occasion, each of these converge into the perfect storm (see: Ovechkin, Alexander).

For the fans of the New York Rangers, the player with that honor seems to be one Rick Nash, who despite his squad being just one win from the second round, has been a topic of discussion due to the goose egg next to his name in the goals scored category.

As we’re seeing in the other Metropolitan Division matchup, that can prove to be a massive sticking point for some people.

“This guy gets paid a lot of money, we’re used to seeing him score a lot of goals in the regular season, so why isn’t he scoring now?”

These things happen. Even the best players in the world go through bumps in the road where they can’t buy a lucky bounce off of a defenseman and into the net, instead hitting iron or narrowly missing a yawning cage. It’s just that in the playoffs, you may only get those few games before you’re relegated to the golf course, and every single little thing is magnified to the umpteenth degree.