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Rangers coach expects Nash to break out

by Dan Rosen

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- For New York Rangers forward Rick Nash to break out against the Boston Bruins, he's going to have to break a trend that isn't growing in his favor.

Nash didn't score a goal in three regular-season games against the Washington Capitals and similarly couldn't break through in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games. Nash didn't score a goal in three regular-season games against the Bruins, the Rangers' opponent in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

However, Rangers coach John Tortorella said he thinks Nash, the team's leading scorer with 21 goals in the regular season, is enough of a professional to forget his lack of success in the conference quarterfinals and start fresh against the Bruins on Thursday.

"He played really well in Game 7 and really didn't have many bad games in the seven-game series in Washington," Tortorella said Wednesday. "He didn't finish. He certainly wasn't totally on. But he's very close, and I thought he played really well in Game 7. So, yeah, he's playing, and I think he's going to be a really big part of this as we enter into Boston."

The Rangers got by against the Capitals because some of their secondary scorers, third- and fourth-liners Brian Boyle and Arron Asham, stepped up and scored. But Tortorella said that doesn't take any pressure off of Nash to produce against Boston.

"Higher-end guys are higher-end guys because they want the pressure, they want the responsibility," Tortorella said. "For a team, it helps when your second- and third-line guys contribute, but for the top-end guys, that's why they are where they are, the top players, because they want that. So I don't think it takes any pressure off them. I think they want to be the guy that makes the difference."


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