18-10-4; 3rd Place, Metropolitan Division
NEW YORK RANGERS: Dear Columbus, thank you for the attitude adjustment!
On October 11th, the Rangers went into Columbus and pretty much got manhandled during a 5-2 loss. It was only the Rangers 2nd game of the season.
Several Columbus players tried taking their liberties against the former Blue Jacket Rick Nash that night, until the Rangers 3rd year forward finally found it time, not just to defend himself, but to lash out.
Nash took particular exception with Blue Jacket goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and winger Matt Calvert.
After scoring a pair of goals on opening night, he punctuated his raucous evening in Columbus with a 3rd period goal.
The Blue Jackets most definitely poked the bear that night, and the Rangers are still benefiting. More importantly, that game in effect unleashed the total package Rangers fans thought they were acquiring three years ago.
Rick Nash's attitude appears correct - fixed. He even snarls a lot more as his overall disposition on the ice is measurably nastier (for him).
Since that game in October, and maybe even with the memories of last season's Stanley Cup failure still haunting him, Nash has thrown his 6'4" 220 lbs. body around very effectively. His physicality, speed, and skills are all now in sync.
In his 1st season as a Ranger, Nash scored 21 goals in 44 games. Last season he scored 26 goals in 65 games.
With two goals Tuesday night against the Capitals, Rick Nash now has 22 goals on the season to lead the Eastern Conference. He is 2nd in the NHL behind Dallas' Tyler Seguin's 25 goals.
And, his 22 goals have come in just 32 games played.
Nash also added an assist against the Caps to give him 36 points this season. Last season, Nash had 39 points all season. With just 13 assists, that ranked a pathetic 6th on the team behind Mats Zuccarello's Blueshirt leading 59 points. Nash already has 13 assists this season.
Not incidentally, the Rangers have now won seven straight games.