WASHINGTON - Martin St. Louis spent several minutes after the Rangers' morning skate Sunday talking about how he is only a good bounce or two away from breaking his playoff-long goal-scoring drought.
Then he sought a little help from someone who would be on his mind all day and night: his late mother, France, who died during last year's playoffs and whom he honored with a Mother's Day goal against the Penguins.
"I know she'll be with me and give me a bounce," the veteran forward said with a smile as the Rangers prepared for Game 6 of their second-round series against the Capitals.
His Mother's Day emotions were not as raw as they were last year, but he said it still was a difficult day.
"It's tough to not be able to send your mom flowers," he said. "It's a tough thing, especially when she was a very key part of my life. We were very close. I miss her every day, and especially today."
St. Louis understood he had to put all of that aside because of the professional stakes for him and for his teammates.
The fact that he had remained without a goal through 10 playoff games was surprising because he scored 21 in the regular season and because he has been playing with the potent Rick Nash and Derick Brassard.
Then again, Nash scored only his second playoff goal Sunday night (assisted by St. Louis), and Nash scored 42 in the regular season.
The good news for the Rangers was that at 39, St. Louis has been around long enough to know these things happen -- and that it was more important for him to assess his overall play than to assess his statistics.
"Personally, if I've had chances, I've produced chances, really I feel you have to gauge your game according to that," he said. "Of course you want your chances to go in. Sometimes they just don't.
"So the only way to keep going is to keep playing. Play hard, stay positive. The easiest thing to do is to feel sorry for yourself and quit."
St. Louis thought he had a breakthrough in Game 5 Friday night when he got the puck directly in front of Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, only to watch Holtby stick out his left pad for a remarkable save.
"It looked like a hesitation a little bit, but it wasn't a hesitation," he said. "I didn't see the puck until it actually hit my stick. I just happened to put my stick down just in case and I wasn't looking at my blade . . . He made a great save. I wish I could have one-timed it, but I just never saw it. But right place, doing the right thing."
Brassard, who led the team with five goals through the first 10 playoff games, said he would try to set up St. Louis and / or Nash on Sunday night.
"When you're a goal-scorer and you're not scoring, it just takes one sometimes and you know a lot of goals are going to come," he said. "I'm going to try my best to try to move the puck around for those guys. They've been goal-scorers all of their careers, so I'm pretty sure it's going to come soon."
Said St. Louis: "I'm playing with confidence. It's just not going in right now. It's one goal and sometimes the floodgates open and that's happened to me in the past. I'm just going to keep working for that bounce.
"Throughout my career, I've always been honest with my performance, regardless of the points and goals and assists. I'm gauging myself on how I'm actually playing hockey. I'm playing some good hockey right now. I'm not getting rewarded like I want, but that's life."