Marian Gaborik won't mind the calendar turning to March.
After a great January that saw him average more than a point a game, as he tallied five goals and three assists in seven contests, Gaborik had just two goals and two assists in February. He went from a plus-4 rating in the season's first month to a minus-5 in February.
Lately, it's been a noticeable struggle for Gaborik, who has been known to go through slumps in his time with the Rangers. He has just one goal and two assists in the last nine games after tallying nine points, six via goals, in the first 10.
He last scored on Feb. 14 against the Islanders and has been held without a goal in the past six games. Gaborik even found himself benched in the third period of the Rangers' loss to Montreal on Jan. 23, and has been shifted to different lines.
Before Thursday's game, when the Rangers welcomed offensive star Rick Nash back to the lineup, Rangers coach John Tortorella said he hoped Nash would be able to spark some of the team's players. Without mentioning names, it was clear two of those players he meant were Gaborik and fellow veteran Brad Richards, who is also having troubles finding the net. Richards has just two goals on the year.
"The thing that has impressed me about him [Nash], he's a pretty good one-on-one player, and we've all seen that, but I think he has the ability to make plays and help other people along the way," Tortorella said, according to NHL.com. "If some of our offensive guys that are playing with him are on the ice when we score a goal, that helps. Right now where we are with some of [our offensive guys] anything is going to help because they care and they know they're just not doing it offensively. I think it will happen."
Had this been a regular season, the Rangers might not have even have had Gaborik's services available at this point as he had offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last June. Thanks to the lockout, though, Gaborik had the proper time to heal and found himself in the lineup on opening day against Boston. Shortly after, he went through his hot streak that made it seem like another 40-goal season was in reach.
Now, as Gaborik's accumulation of points have slowed down, the Rangers will have to try and figure out what's keeping the veteran off the stat sheet. While they don't need Gaborik be the top playmaker, as that's what Nash is supposed to be, Gaborik is expected to be a top complementary option. His struggles, when combined with those of Richards, really limit the Rangers offensively in what they can do with their lines and finding goals outside of whatever line Nash plays on.