Chris Kreider has played an important role for the Rangers these playoffs. Since his return from a wrist injury suffered late in the season, he has been a welcomed asset to the Rangers lineup. The 6’3, Boston College has emerged as a dynamic player.
Through five playoff games, starting with game four of the Pittsburgh Penguins series, Kreider has two goals and four points. Even though he averages 14:14 minutes on the ice per game, his play on the ice must still be accounted for, by his opponents. Without a doubts, he is one of the reasons why the Rangers find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, he has played with an edge that is garnering attention, in the wrong way.
In game one against the Montreal Canadiens, there was a play that came into question his intention. The play being referred to occurred in the second period. Chris Kreider was able to split the defense and strived towards Carey Price. He was not able to get a shot off, losing his footing on the ice.
Consequently, he slammed into Price, dislodging the net and halting the game. Afterwards, Price was seen down on the ice for some time. Fortunately, he got up and skated on his own. He was able to finish the second period. However, he was pulled after the second intermission by Canadians head coach Michel Therrien.
Now, according to his head coach, Price is questionable for game two, on Monday. For your review, here is the play in question:
And this is not the first time a play like this has occurred.
In round two against the Penguins, there was a goalie interference penalty called on Chris Kreider, involving Marc-Andre Fleury.
The replay showed that he was clearly pushed by the Penguins defense, and collided into Fleury. He is seen losing his balance and unable to avoid the Penguins goalie. However, this is what caught my attention.
Why did he not try and avoid Fleury, make an attempt. Perhaps, if he tried to back off instead of bowling forward and clipping Fleury with an elbow, the referee may have swallowed his whistle and called the goal.
However, we have to remember all of this happening in real time. The speed of the game is at a greater pace. The referees, though we may not like it, has to make a reactionary call to what they see.
It would be unfortunate for Price, if he is injured, not to play in game two or any games this playoff cause of this. You always want to play the best, to prove to the world you got to where you are by beating the best.
Chris Kreider, great as he is, still needs to mature. He needs to avoid taking unnecessary actions, such as cheap shots. He needs to realize that the team benefits more from his breakout speed and offensive talent. In the future, he needs to stop and think before barreling into the opponent’s goalie.
Was he trying to gain an advantage or send a message? We will never know. Hopefully, there will not be a consequence to his action on Saturday. However, he may become a marked man, and retaliation may rear its head. Just ask Brandon Prust his opinion.