New York Rangers’ scorching hot Chris Kreider looking to burn Devils

chris kreider
Feb 16, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers and Michael McLeod #20 of the New Jersey Devils fight during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is on a tear.

In last night’s 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets he put home two more goals. His second was his league leading 7th power play goal and his 11th of the season, which is good for third in the NHL.

I can honestly say, as someone who has watched every game of Chris Kreider’s career he’s never played better.

New York Rangers Chris Kreider is on fire

Kreider looks to continue his hot start Sunday night when the Blueshirts host the New Jersey Devils.

Kreider is among the NHL leaders with 11 goals, trailing only Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl (14 goals) and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (12 goals) early on. Kreider has seven goals in his last six games. The Rangers improved to 6-1-2 when he scores a goal.

Kreider tallied his first goal when the Rangers scored three times in 63 seconds during the second period, and he added his NHL-leading seventh power-play goal in the third. Those goals occurred after Panarin scored twice, marking his first multi-goal game since April 15 against New Jersey.

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“I think it was the end result of us doing the right things,” Kreider said. “There are going to be stretches where pucks aren’t going in, but we’re getting looks, and they can come in bunches like that, especially with some of the skill that we have on this group.”

Last night, Kreider also became the first Blueshirt and fifth player in the NHL to reach 10 goals this season. His power play tally was also his 7th, which is the most through 14 games since Brendan Shanahan did it in 2006-07.*

The 30 year-old veteran continues to climb the Rangers record books by passing Bryan Hextall Sr for 13th place on the team’s all-time goal list with 188. Hextall is famous in Rangers history for scoring the Cup winning goal of 1940.


Panarin heating up; Shesterkin 100%

Artemi Panarin was off to a slow start but is coming off his most productive performance, also his first mulitgoal game of the season.

Panarin has four goals through his first 14 games after totaling 49 goals in his first two seasons as a Ranger. Three of those goals are in his last seven contests.

The Rangers are seeking their second three-game winning streak of the season. They won four straight Oct. 16-23 and then lost four of their next six (2-2-2), a stretch that included overtime losses in Vancouver and Edmonton and a 6-0 shellacking in Calgary.

Panarin, 30, now has 15 points in 14 games and is tied with Adam Fox for the lead in Rangers scoring. The Breadman has 4 points in his last two contests, and 11 points in the last 7 games.

Another player of note is Igor Shesterkin, who was removed from the game for precautionary reasons after another crease collision.

“He’s fine, he could’ve came back,” Gallant revealed. “He had to do the mandatory 10 to 12 minutes (in the quiet room) but he was ready to come back, As soon as he got to the bench he said ‘I’m fine’ but they’ve got to be safe.”

As for his availability tonight, Gallant said “he’s 100% – no issues.”

Devils surprisingly good

If Kreider and Panarin can continue their production, it likely will be against goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood, who is off to a fast start following offseason heel surgery.

Blackwood is 2-0-1 with a .945 save percentage since making his season debut in a 3-2 overtime loss to the host Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 5. He last played when he stopped 42 shots in Thursday’s 4-0 win over the New York Islanders.

Blackwood did not play Saturday when the Devils never led and saw their three-game winning streak halted with a 5-2 loss to the visiting Boston Bruins. Rookie Dawson Mercer and Jesper Bratt scored, but New Jersey struggled at sustaining offense and rarely had odd-man rushes after often producing those plays Thursday.

“They probably blocked a lot of shots (25), but when you don’t get inside, it allows them to turn (to) the puck, and we didn’t shoot pucks quick enough,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “The result was we spent too much time outside the (face-off) dot.”

The Rangers enter with a six-game winning streak over the Devils after outscoring them 30-10 in the final six meetings last season. Kreider and Panarin combined for eight goals in those games as the Rangers beat Blackwood in five of those contests.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this article.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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