- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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The scoreboard on Sunday was far more important to Rick Nash than his first goal as a Ranger.
"I'd rather have the two points [for a win]. That doesn't mean much," Nash said after the New York Rangers fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3, in their home opener. "If it helped us win or helped us tie it, it'd mean a lot."
Nash tallied his first goal on Broadway when he scored a shorthanded goal in the third to get the Rangers within 5-3. He's had a point in each of the team's first two games.
"He's probably been our best player," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "I'm not too interested in singling out players but he's the real thing. You can see that."
After tallying an assist on Saturday, Nash, for whom the Rangers traded in the offseason, followed it up with another good performance. He beat Tomas Vokoun in a one-on-one spot with the Blueshirts on the penalty kill to liven up Madison Square Garden for the final few minutes of the game.
The Rangers didn't complete the comeback and are now 0-2 in the shortened season.
"I don't think we're pushing panic buttons, but it's not the start we wanted," Nash said. "We got to get back to work. There's a lot of mistakes out there that we have to correct."
PRAISE FOR ASHAM: Tortorella wasn't pleased that the Rangers did not respond to newcomer Arron Asham fighting Pittsburgh enforcer Tanner Glass right after the puck dropped. Asham and Tanner went back and forth, with both players landing good blows.
"High marks for Ash. That's what p----- me off a little bit," Tortorella said. "Ash goes out there and hangs in there and turns it around, and we don't come in behind him. When a player does something like that as long as he did, the other guys need to feed off of that and do their thing, and that has not happened."
Asham, known for his toughness, earned the start because he was playing his former team and Glass was starting. The forward missed the season opener because he had to finish a four-game suspension he received in the playoffs.
"Just two guys doing their jobs," Asham said of the fight. "[You've] got to do that stuff to stay in the league. He's the same type of player as I am. I asked him to go and he obliged and we went."
Tortorella had no problem with the hit, calling it "clean."
"That's a big problem we have right now. Maybe we need to get whacked around a little more," Tortorella said. "Wake us up."
NO PROBLEM WITH THE BOOS: The fans greeted the Rangers with loud cheers and those quickly changed to boos as the Blueshirts fell behind by several goals. Captain Ryan Callahan had no qualms with the fans voicing their displeasure.
"They have every right to be upset. I don't think we were playing the hockey we need to be playing," Callahan said. "I don't think we were playing great at the time. It is what it is."
98dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald