We have all seen what New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider can do when he uses his speed. No, I am not talking about when he collided into Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price after being tripped on the play by Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin. What I am talking about, however, are the events before the collision, where Kreider used his great speed to split the Canadiens’ defensemen and drive to the net.
After missing the entire first round of the playoffs due to injury, Kreider returned in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins and immediately made a positive impact on the Rangers. Kreider’s presence was felt throughout the Rangers’ 3-1 series comeback vs. the Penguins and early in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Canadiens. And even though Kreider would cool down and not be as noticeable on the ice toward the end of the ECF vs. the Canadiens, the Rangers were able to win the series in six games and advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where the Rangers await the winner of Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings, which will be decided later tonight in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
No matter the opponent, Blackhawks or Kings, Kreider will need to heat up again and start using his speed from start to finish throughout the Stanley Cup Final. Kreider’s four goals and six assists in only 10 playoff games this season may be impressive, but he is going to have to assert himself even more and become a huge difference-maker if the Rangers are to have any type of prayer in the Final.