It was going to be hard for the Rangers to match what went down in the first half of Sunday's Garden doubleheader, but give them credit for giving it their best shot.
Their 3-2 overtime win against the Blue Jackets wasn't as twisty or exhilarating as the Knicks' win over the Mavericks, but it had plenty to recommend it right up to the winning goal. If you're a fan of nifty passing leading to easy goals, you'll love what Michael Del Zotto and Marian Gaborik did to set up Derek Stepan for the winner 22 seconds into overtime.
Stepan's goal meant that the Rangers would again avoid a two-game losing streak, something that hasn't happened since early December, and it meant that they bounced right back from Columbus' game-tying goal with 1:33 left to play. Rick Nash, subject of several trade rumors linking him with the Rangers, scored after a faceoff win with the net empty to send the game to overtime.
The Rangers crowd made it clear what they thought of those trade rumors when they serenaded Nash with chants of "We Don't Want You" after he scored, a moment of ingenuity that made it clear Knicks and Rangers fans share a desire to fill the Garden with noise in support of their teams.
As for their read on the Nash situation, it may not be a question of what anyone wants so much as what the Rangers need.
You don't make judgments on one game, so we'll throw out the fact that the Rangers' ability to dominate play in the first period almost went for naught because no one could hit the net and the fact that their power play was somnolent once again on Sunday night.
We'll just point out that those problems have been part of the Rangers' story all season and that Nash has proven more than once that he's able to be a solution on both fronts.
That doesn't mean it is a no-brainer or that Nash's acquisition wouldn't make for interesting cap situations/limited ability to make other moves, it's just that there's a big difference between wanting to monkey with the current makeup of the Rangers and needing to do something to maximize the chances that this team lifts the Cup.
Getting Nash doesn't guarantee that you wind up as champions, but not getting him doesn't guarantee Zach Parise (or Jordan Staal or whoever) signs as a free agent to fill a need that the Rangers know they have to address. And, no matter how good your young core of talent might be, chances to get a Cup just don't materialize year after year.
It's a tough call, but that's why Glen Sather earns a nice salary. And it all makes for a nice backdrop for a Sunday night game that seemed like a snoozer when you perused the schedule back at the start of the year.
Now we just need to wait and see if that's the last time we see Nash in New York this season.