Rick Nash (remember him?) found his legs and his scoring touch early Saturday, blasting through the Tampa Bay defense to score on a tremendous individual effort in the first period.
Nash took a Kevin Hayes pass in the neutral zone, slipped past Mark Barberio and outskated a backchecking Cedric Paquette to open up some space on his way to the net. Then he cut across the goalmouth and put the puck in between the post and Ben Bishop’s foot.
It was a big goal for Nash, who’s shown up more on milk cartons than score sheets these playoffs. Nash had just two goals and seven points coming into the game, despite a career-best 42-goal campaign in the regular season.
The 30-year-old carries a $7.8-million cap hit, and he should be carrying a lot more than that in these playoffs. He had concussions as an excuse for his poor play last year, when he scored just three goals and 10 points in 25 games.
This year? He’s getting into Alexei Yashin choke territory, and he’ll need more goals like this one if he's ever going to shake that label.