Playoffs were a fleeting experience for Rick Nash during nine seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. One series in 2009 was a sweep, so the big winger got to put up just a goal and two assists in four games.
Columbus is in Nash’s past now, and the spotlight is on him as the New York Rangers hope to feature more of an offensive punch when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Thursday with Game 1 at the Washington Capitals.
“Let’s see what he can do. That’s why he went to the Rangers,” said Caps left wing Martin Erat, who played against Nash frequently while playing for the Nashville Predators. “He wanted to go to the playoffs and now it’s time for him to shine.”
At 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds, Nash is a handful for opponents to contain. He had 21 goals and 21 assists in 44 regular-season games with the Rangers, similar to the numbers he put up with Columbus.
How Nash performs in the playoffs is a mystery, but not to those who have played with and against him.
“I think his style will probably translate really good,” ex-Blue Jackets teammate Jason Chimera said. “He’s one of those guys who doesn’t play overly aggressive during the course of the year, but I think when I watched him play in playoffs last time he did a lot and he was very aggressive.”
Nash would have liked more than four games of NHL playoff experience, but at least he got the initial jitters out of the way. He said he has “no other options” but to find out how he’ll respond in the postseason at 28 years old.