Slumping Rick Nash, Rangers on thin playoff ice

Rick Nash of the New York Rangers waits for a first-period faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers...

Rick Nash of the New York Rangers waits for a first-period faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center on April 29, 2014. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:07 PM ET

Rick Nash’s stick isn’t working.

The slumping New York Rangers forward might turn to something else with his team’s season hanging in the balance.

Nash’s playoff goalless streak has reached 15 games, including all 12 in the 2014 NHL playoffs.

“I don’t think there is any easy way,” said Nash, who missed an open net in Game 5 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“But when guys are on these kinds of streaks, it always seems like it’s a lucky bounce that goes in, off the shin pad, off your back, one that should not be a goal. I could really use one of those right now.

“It has been a big struggle. Chances are there, but no excuses. Have to get the job done.”

The Rangers trail the Penguins 3-2 in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven semifinal.

With Game 6 looming at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, the expectation was another emotional evening for Rangers forward Martin St. Louis, playing again three days after the death of his mother, France.

“Mother’s Day today, this is a day that is special to me,” St. Louis said following the morning skate. “To have my dad and my sister here, I think it helps the grieving process.

“I am really thankful for the quality people we have in here. And the people who reached out to me. I did not expect anything less. You want to be upbeat. It has to be a positive vibe, and there is.

“We’re going to need (emotion). I know I think it was emotional the other day, and you have to play this game with emotion.”

Said Sidney Crosby, when asked about Mother’s Day and his mother Trina: “Like any hockey parent, she sacrificed a lot, and any parent in general. To give your kids an opportunity to do what you love to do, I feel pretty fortunate, but she is big reason for that. I like to think I am pretty appreciative usually, but especially on this day for sure.”

The Penguins could have a different look on the blue line.

Already missing stalwart Brooks Orpik due to a knee injury, there was no sign of rookie defenceman Olli Maatta at the morning skate. Maatta has been steady in the post-season, averaging 17:54 of ice time and giving no sign he is a 19-year-old experiencing the NHL playoffs for the first time.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wouldn’t provide clarity on Maatta’s situation. If Maatta is unable to play, the Penguins will use Deryk Engelland, who has not played in a game since April 12.

Engelland said after the morning skate that he didn’t know if he would be in the lineup.

Pittsburgh has to find a way to get its power play on track, as it has produced just one goal in 15 opportunities in the series, and none in the past three games.

The Penguins have won all four previous playoff series against the Rangers and New York never has come back to win when down 3-1 in a best-of-seven.

Even with those facts in consideration, the Pittsburgh players, who couldn't close the series in Game 5 on Friday, want nothing to do with a Game 7 at home on Tuesday.

“We have been successful in this building so hopefully nothing changes,” forward James Neal said. “We can’t wait to see what happens in a game. We have to leave everything out there. The second we start watching, the game gets ahead of you and we can’t let that happen.”


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