Rick Nash is still in New York suffering from an undisclosed injury, so this is the best time possible for Marian Gaborik to start playing like himself again.

The Rangers’ sniper was as engaged and impactful in Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Senators as he has been since his hat trick against the Bruins on Jan. 23. Yet, one game does not make a season, and in Ottawa, Gaborik had no goals, no assists, and an even plus-minus rating.

But that would be blind to the reality of his performance. In his 25:08, the 31-year-old Czech flew up and down the ice, created open space, controlled the puck and had a team-high seven shots on goal. With the score tied 2-2 in the third period, Gaborik rattled a shot off the crossbar, and in overtime, he clanked another off the right post.

He even just missed converting in the shootout. If he had been successful, many of the ails of the inconsistent Rangers, now a middling 8-6-2, could have been temporarily pushed to the background.

“We had some chances to score,” Gaborik said, speaking in the plural when a more honest assessment would have been singular. “That’s just how things are going for us.”