Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider The Key To Rick Nash’s Success

Chris Kreider The Key To Rick Nash‘s Success

It is obvious that the presence of Chris Kreider on Rick Nash‘s opposite wing has been extremely beneficial for Nash. Having Chris Kreider is the key to Rich Nash’s success in goal scoring and puck possession. During camp, this season was expected to be a big one for Rick Nash. A new coach with a more offensively open system. Should return Nash to the  forty-forty guy he was in Columbus, right?  The New York Rangers had trouble early on that got worse when in the first period at 2:32 of game three of the regular season against San Jose. Nash was driven hard into the boards from a high elbow from defenseman Brad Stuart. A high hit in which he  right to Nash’s head causing the Rangers best offensive player to miss seventeen games. It took him some time to get going again but he ended up with twenty-six goals on the season. Brad Stuart received a three game suspension for the hit on Rich Nash.

The NY Rangers played the first ten playoff games without Chris Kreider and Nash’s play suffered for it.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider is the Rangers top young player. He was to be  a  shoe in for a top six roster spot during training camp. However, a bad pre-season landed Kreider in Hartford. After six games and four points, he was right back in the NHL and never looked back. Alain Vigneault wanted him to become the Rangers version of Ryan Kessler. Making a living in front of the oppositions goaltender. As this season wore on Kreider became more comfortable in his role. His defensive positioning has improved without the puck immensely and his ice time has increased as a result . Playing on the top line with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan, he learned to use his speed and skating ability to help him on defense. He uses size to play with the puck down low against smarter more experienced defenseman. He’s even got a little mean streak at times and already takes the body Very few defenseman in the league can keep up with him and fewer can stay with him.

The Return Of Chris Kreider Has Been Leverage For Rick Nash

Then, in game four Chris Kreider returned from his hand injury sustained in late March. Likely from a slash to the hands during a 21, March game in Columbus. Chris Kreider’s timing with the puck was off a little in the game four loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The loss put the Rangers season on the brink down three games to one. Then came and the passing of Martin St. Louis mother and the entire New York Rangers team and organization rallied behind him. Game five was unmistakably the turning point for the Rangers playoff season. Kreider scored a Power Play goal for his first point of his playoffs. Nash finally scored had his only point of the second round. A secondary assist on a play controlled by Chris Kreider in the Penguins zone with the empty net is also on the scoresheet giving him two points in his second game of the playoffs.

Now the Rangers find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years brimming with confidence. They have their top line of  Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash playing their best hockey of the season. Nash scored his first goal of the playoffs in game one and an assist from Kreider, scored his second goal in game two. Chris Kreider’s speed backs the defense off and that gives our power forward Nash some room to operate. Both players are playing loose and enjoying the game now. Quietly Derek Stepan has had a solid post season thus far, no matter who was on his left side. His patience with the puck and play making ability helps both Chris Kreider and Rick Nash time and space to  maneuver through the offensive zone. Rick Nash leads the team with a Corsi rating of 52.7%. Having Chris Kreider on his left side Rick Nash’ Corsi goes up five percent. Chris Kreider is a commodity on Rick Nash’ left side the New York Rangers need on their top line. 2014-05-09: Rangers 5 at Penguins 1 Game Advanced Stats | Extra Skater.

With both Chris Kreider and Rick Nash playing as well as they have the last two games. This series comes down to the Rangers level of play on home ice. If they are still behind Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards as their leaders on and off the ice? If Henrik Lundqvist continues to play all world and Nash and Kreider lead the offensive charge. They will be a tough team to play against with a top line running like a well oiled machine and their 2nd and 3rd lines providing depth few teams can match

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Tags: Chris Kreider New York Rangers Playoffs Rick Nash