The New York Rangers lost a tough one on Thursday night to the Montreal Canadiens in overtime. After they clawed their way back with a goal in the last 30 seconds of the third by Chris Kreider, it seemed the Rangers were taking control the momentum heading into overtime. The Canadiens looked tired and the Rangers appeared to have them on the ropes. But Montreal managed to escape with the victory on a goal by Alex Galchenyuk, and they will look to even the series when they take on the Rangers in Game 4 Sunday.
As the Rangers look to move on from their Game 3 loss, one thing is for certain, Chris Kreider can be a major difference-maker moving forward. While Kreider was instrumental in the team’s comeback tonight, he had at least one instance where he would turn the puck over in bad areas because he was trying to make a fancy play. For all of the skill that Kreider has for someone as young as he is, he has a tendency to try and make too much happen at once.
Don’t get me wrong, Kreider is bound to make some mistakes like that at such an early stage of his career. Awareness is a facet of his game that will slowly develop over time and through experience. It can certainly be considered to be the growing pains of a young player, however, little mistakes can lead to a team’s demise. Should the Rangers think about reducing Kreider’s role to minimize some of possible mistakes he’ll make?
The answer is that they shouldn’t and they really can’t afford to reduce his role. The idea of having experienced players up and down the roster this deep in a playoff run makes a lot of sense, but the positives of Kreider’s game far outweigh the risks of playing him as much as they do. He has incredible speed for a player his size and pretty good stick-handling skills to go with that. Another trait which isn’t discussed too much is the fact that he uses his frame to get into the corners, like Rick Nash.
The young player is somewhat of a lightning rod for New York at this point in the playoffs. He will be needed more than ever, as the Rangers will look to bounce back from their loss. The Rangers should keep looking to Kreider when the game is on the line. His knack for creating chances when they don’t appear to be there can help the Rangers in the future. Make no mistake Chris Kreider is essential to New York’s run at the cup.