65° Good Evening
65° Good Evening

Rick Nash's goal-scoring no shock to Rangers teammates

New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash looks

New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash looks on before a faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Rick Nash's goal-scoring "revival" this season isn't a surprise to anyone on the Rangers.

Nash starred for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Team Canada before joining the Rangers in 2012, but in 29 games this season, he is lighting up Broadway with performances that have him being mentioned alongside such franchise icons as Rod Gilbert, Mark Messier, Jean Ratelle, Vic Hadfield and Bill Cook.

"You know, he came to New York being that type of player," goalie Henrik Lundqvist said after Nash scored his 19th and 20th goals in a 5-2 defeat of the Flames on Tuesday to cap a three-game sweep in western Canada. "I played against him so many times and he made me look stupid a couple times too. He's got that long reach and he has one or two moves that he likes to use, and he's good at it."

Good is an understatement.

"He's an elite player," Derek Stepan said. "This is no shock to any of us."

Nash, 30, arrived in camp in great physical shape. He credits his teammates and some luck for his career-best scoring splurge.

"Just a backhand/forehand move," Nash said, downplaying his breakaway goal that flummoxed Karri Ramo. "On the other one, Stepan made a great pass, I had some time and was able to tuck it low-blocker."

With a sly sense of not wanting to jinx anything, he said: "It's one of those things you don't want to think about too much when they're going right."

Still, the sheer numbers are impressive.

Nash has a point or more in 24 of the Rangers' 29 games and has scored a goal in 17 different games. His 13 assists are tied for second on the Rangers, and his 33 points are tops among left wings in the NHL. (Nash also played on the right wing at times when Stepan was out earlier this season.)

Nash's 11-game point streak is the NHL's longest active streak and is tied with Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for the season's best. He became the only player to have an active streak of 11 straight 20-goal seasons. Only nine other Rangers have had at least 24 points in the first 29 games of a season.

Lundqvist laughed when asked if practicing against one of the game's best netminders has anything to do with Nash's production.

"I'm not taking any credit for that," he said. "It's just fun to watch."

New York Sports