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Rick Nash bounces back for Rangers

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Rick Nash does a little bit of everything for the Rangers on Saturday.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rick Nash does a little bit of everything for the Rangers on Saturday.

After essentially being called out by his coach after Game 1, Rick Nash responded with a much more effective Game 2.

The power forward tallied an assist, four shots on goal, three hits and two takeaways in his 16:06 on the ice. Though his helper came on Derick Brassard’s game-winning goal in the third period, he also deserved praise on Dan Boyle’s unassisted power play score with a terrific screen in front of Washington goaltender Braden Holtby.

“That puck doesn’t go in without (Nash) occupying the goalie’s eyes,” Boyle said. “That’s what you’ve got to do to score goals at this level this time of year. (Nash) deserves most of the credit.”

“(Nash) was around the puck a lot, he was shooting the puck a lot, and it’s a good thing to see,” Brassard said. “He had some really good looks, really good scoring chances. When your back is against the wall you need your big players to step up, and that’s what he did tonight.”

BOYLE SHORTAGE

Dan Boyle scored his first goal of the 2015 postseason on Saturday with a power play score in the first period, but the veteran continues to be the Rangers’ biggest liability on defense.

The Capitals have scored four goals in the first two games of the series and Boyle has been on the ice for three of them. He was “dazed and confused” after being hit by Nicklas Backstrom in the waning moments of Game 1 and turned the puck over on a sequence that led to Joel Ward’s buzzer-beating goal. On Saturday he was beaten to the puck by rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov, who converted on a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist with 6:01 to play in the second period.

After the game, Boyle was far more accommodating in discussing the victory than his inconsistent play.

“I just want to win, man. I know there’s going to be a lot of dissecting about goals and assists. I’ve talked about it all year and I’m kind of sick of it. I’m just relieved when we win,” Boyle said. “Is it nice to score a goal? Absolutely. Everybody wants to, but we want to win hockey games more importantly. And that was a good win.”

Alain Vigneault has continued to play Boyle all season despite his struggles on the blue line. But should Boyle be benched, Matt Hunwick would take his place on the third defensive pairing and the power play.

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