Biggest Takeways from Start of New York Rangers' 1st-Round Playoff Matchup

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIApril 20, 2014

Biggest Takeways from Start of New York Rangers' 1st-Round Playoff Matchup

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The New York Rangers are tied 1-1 with the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

    Now that we've seen a bit of the series, what can we take away from their first-round matchup?

    We'll look at some of the biggest storylines from the first two games of the series.

    Read on to find out what they are. 

Ryan McDonagh Is Rusty

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    Kathy Willens

    After missing the last few games of the season, Ryan McDonagh made his return from a shoulder injury in Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

    He wasn't great.

    "I was not myself, not making good plays with the puck, turning it over, not moving my feet," McDonagh told Steve Zipay of Newsday. "You get a little nervous. They were coming hard."

    McDonagh turned the puck over in his own zone in Game 1, leading to the Flyers' goal. In Game 2, he was beaten down the wing by Jakub Voracek for a goal.

    Quite simply, the Rangers need McDonagh to be better. Without him, they don't have an answer for the Flyers top line. 

Marty St. Louis Is a Big-Time Performer

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    Frank Franklin II

    Forget the one goal in 19 games.

    Martin St. Louis knows how to perform when it matters most.

    In two playoff games, he has a goal and two assists. In his last four games, including the playoffs, he has seven points.

    It's simple—St. Louis is going to elevate his game as the playoffs go on. The Rangers are starting to double-shift him, and he is playing major minutes.

    They took a risk in acquiring him, especially since they had to give up Ryan Callahan.

    But it's clear that St. Louis is going to be worth it. He's a future Hall of Famer, and he's going to give the team a lot of offense. 

Rick Nash Needs to Step It Up

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    Scott Levy/Getty Images

    Rick Nash has two assists in two games, but he's been largely invisible in the series.

    Given his talent, he should be taking over games. He needs to park himself in the middle of the ice to be effective. But he still spends most of his time near the wall.

    Quite frankly, his effort in Game 2 left a lot to be desired. Nash needs to be more engaged. It was quite telling when he was not on the ice for a pivotal four-on-three power play.

    Without an active and engaged Nash, the Rangers are missing the best player on the ice. They need him to earn the nearly $8 million he makes.

    Thus far, he hasn't done that.