Rangers-Rick Nash: With the Rangers struggling mightily to score goals in this series, they will naturally look to their best offensive player---who thus far has been held in check by Washington's surprisingly solid defense---to provide the spark they need. Nash led the Rangers with 21 goals this season, and has posted 20 or more in nine straight seasons, with 310 in total over 718 NHL games. Pure and simple: he is a goal scorer. But he has only six games of post-season experience in his career---notching a goal and two assists in four games with Columbus back in 2009 and being held off the scoresheet in two games so far in this series. Nash nearly scored a huge goal late in the third period of Game Two, but his shot hit the post behind Braden Holtby. Instead of a 1-0 loss and 2-0 series deficit, the Rangers would have had a 1-0 win and an even 1-1 series heading back home. That's how tight this series is, and a big-time player like Nash can be the difference maker any time he steps out on to the ice.
Capitals-Mike Green: After two straight injury-plagued seasons, Green returned to his Norris Trophy form in 2013, leading all NHL defensemen with 12 goals while totaling 26 points in 35 games. Then he went out and blasted home the overtime game-winning goal to win Game Two. Yes, he is back to that premier offensive defenseman who notched 70+ points two years running in 200809 and 2009-10, and as such the Rangers need to pay very special attention to Green. Expect the Blueshirts to hit Green as often as possible, just as they punished him throughout the first two games of this series. It is a tactic he is familar with come playoff time, though still potentially an effective one despite his 30 points in 52 career playoff games.