It was compelling and propelling from start to finish, this return to the lineup by Rick Nash, and when it was over, so too was the Rangers’ four-game losing streak (0-3-1) that had coincided with No. 61’s absence.

“You can see that we’re a different team when he’s on the ice,” Ryan Callahan said after last night’s 4-1 victory over the Lightning at the Garden. “He brings so much, it’s hard to know where to begin and where to end.”

This 12-shot, 16-attempt performance by Nash began with his first shift, 32 seconds into the match, and ended with his thing-of-beauty goal to close the scoring with 1:33 to play. He established a tone by going to the front, by firing shots, by dominating in traffic and in open ice.

He is Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside, all in one.

“I felt OK, but my timing was a bit off and my wind wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be,” Nash said after playing in his first game since Feb. 17. “We wanted to fire shots from all over, from bad angles, and play as much as possible in their end of the ice and below the hash marks, and we were able to do that.”

The Rangers were overwhelming in the first period, not only owning a 20-3 advantage in shots, but a 35-7 advantage in attempts. The Nash-Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards unit and the Callahan-Derek Stepan-Taylor Pyatt line were irrepressible in moving the puck, pressuring the puck and putting heat on goaltender Mathieu Garon.

Hagelin gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 7:23 by jitterbugging his way past a stumbling Keith Aulie before beating Garon with a whippet. Stepan buried a nifty Callahan centering feed just 1:17 later to give the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead at 8:40. But despite owning the remainder of the period, it was only 2-1 after one when Marty St. Louis scored on a deflection at 16:09.