Saturday, May 11, 2013
Nash battling "slump"
By Katie Strang
WASHINGTON -- It’s hard to imagine Rangers forward Rick Nash is not frustrated, what with being held off the score sheet for the fourth game this series.
Nash has only one point in the team’s best-of-seven set against the Capitals and did not manage a shot on goal until the overtime period of the Rangers' 2-1 loss in Game 5.
Nash admitted he was a "streaky" player and said he’s got to "work out of this slump."
"I don’t know if it’s frustration, but it’s not a good thing when you can’t help your team win and do what you want to do out there," he said.
The 28-year-old winger, acquired by the Rangers in a blockbuster trade this past summer, is playing in only the second playoff series of his career. The hopes are high for Nash, who was regarded as the type of player who could elevate the Rangers to consideration as a Stanley Cup contender.
So far, that expectation has not been met.
Nash did get two shots on goal against Capitals netminder Braden Holtby in overtime, but to no avail.
"I thought, the third period, overtime, I had the chances to make something happen," he said. "It’s just not working right now."
Part of that is the Capitals’ game plan to contain Nash. That has worked well for Washington thus far, as he has been limited to just one assist through the first five games.
"They’re closing the space. They’re not allowing much room. When that happens, you gotta find the other guys and use your teammates," Nash said. "That’s what I was trying to do tonight."
Until he’s able to pick up his game offensively, he’ll try to contribute in other ways.
"Any time you can’t help the team win, it’s not the best thing," Nash said. "There is a little frustration, but when you’re not scoring, you’ve got to find other ways to help, whether it’s a big hit, a good defensive play, setting someone up."
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Washington prospect Tom Wilson got thrown into the fire Friday night, making his NHL debut during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The 19-year-old winger, a 2012 first-round draft pick (16th overall), was summoned from the minors in the wake of an injury to Martin Erat.
Wilson, who played 6:24 over eight shifts on the Capitals' fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle, said his first NHL game lived up to expectations.
"It was everything I imagined. It was just unbelievable," he said. "The fans, you could hear them, everyone could hear them. It was just the best support we could have, and to have a finish like that, it was just a dream come true and everything I imagined."
Wilson is just a few weeks removed from playing in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs and less than a week removed from playing in his first AHL game with the team’s minor league affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
"I was pretty nervous," he said of his pregame jitters. "I got back to the hotel room, had some down time and it kind of set in, but I was able to nap pretty well, so it was good."