The New York Rangers have advanced to the second round of the NHL Playoffs and are currently holding a 1-0 lead in their series with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have eliminated the Rangers from the playoffs twice in recent years and don’t think New York forgets it.
Leading the way has been goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, as expected, but seemingly out of nowhere has been rookie forward Chris Kreider. Krieder has 3 points in the playoffs so far, 2 of those points coming in the important Game 1 of this series. He scored the game winning goal Saturday and then assisted on a Brad Richards goal 90 seconds later as the Rangers blew open a 1-1 game and held on for the 3-1 victory.
Kreider was in college just a few weeks ago leading Boston College to the Frozen Four championship and now he is a rising star on Broadway. What a whirlwind month for the youngster who turns 21 today.
Fans of the New York Rangers have been anticipating Kreider’s arrival since he was drafted in 2009 but fans around the rest of the league is unlikely to be aware of just how talented this kid is. Well, they are getting a crash course now.
In Round 1 vs Ottawa, Kreider made his debut when fellow rookie Carl Hagelin was suspended for 3 games. Kreider’s first game was a feeling out process but he has improved game after game. In a must-win situation of Game 6 in that series, Kreider scored the game winning goal. In the do-or-die Game 7, Kreider used his considerable size and speed to cause havoc for the Senators defense as he was the most tenacious forechecker for New York all game long. His speed is opening up room for his linemates as Derek Stepan has awoken from his scoreless slump to rack up several points since Kreider moved to his left wing and steady, reliable captain Ryan Callahan on the right wing.
Fans can still find NY Rangers tickets for most games of this series. The Rangers and Caps play again tonight at Madison Square Garden before heading to Washington DC for games 3 and 4.