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NEW YORK – For the amount of grief Rick Nash of the New York Rangers gets for his goal droughts, there’s something weirdly appropriate that his first goal in eight games to start the season was scored without a shot attempted.
Or against a goalie, for that matter.
“The way things were going, yeah, it felt pretty standard,” said Nash with a laugh, after the Rangers defeated the Arizona Coyotes, 4-1, on Thursday night.
Nash broke through at 19:17 of the third period, as the Arizona Coyotes pulled goalie Mike Smith for an extra attacker. Two Oliver Ekman-Larsson passes were blocked, and eventually the puck bounced off of Nash’s chest and into the neutral zone.
He managed to control the bouncing puck, but not before Mikkel Boedker had closed in. Nash still had a clear path to the goal, and all Boedker could do was desperately hook him around the waist.
The referee put up his arm, and then signaled that it was goal. Rule 25.1 in the NHL states that if a player has possession of the puck and doesn’t have a defender between himself and an empty net with the goalie pulled, he’s awarded a goal if “he is prevented from scoring as a result of an infraction committed by the defending team.”
So it was an odd one. So odd that Nash was openly laughing about it on the Rangers bench after scoring. But he finally broke through, finally hit the ‘G’ column of the score sheet, and finally saw a result for what he’s felt were some solid efforts this season.
“I’ve said it all along that I feel pretty good. The chances are there. It’s a matter of that they’re gonna come,” said Nash.
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