The Rangers were waiting for this moment seven and half games, the moment when Rick Nash no longer teases with his superlative talent, but capitalizes on it, and lets everyone forget about the usefulness of the grinders for whom he was traded.

Last night in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Nash took on the Lightning's best defenseman, Victor Hedman, and made a power move around him that was world-class in its grace and momentum-setting in its assertiveness. By skating around Hedman and crashing the puck into the net, Nash gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead early in the third that would turn into a 3-2 win, settling the rising storm that was offensive frustration.

"He's a big-time player," coach John Tortorella said. "He's been on our offense the whole time he's been here. He's been around chances the whole time. It's nice for him to score a goal. You can sense he was getting a little frustrated, and that's a big-time goal at a very important time for us."

Nash was acquired this offseason from the Blue Jackets for a forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, along with prospect defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick. Dubinksy and Anisimov were contributing factors to the team's run to the Eastern Conference finals last season — but neither of them could pull a move like Nash did.