Chris Kreider is on the verge of history.
The first player in 25 years to win an NCAA title and make his NHL debut in the playoffs in the same year (the other: Tony Hrkac, for North Dakota and St. Louis in 1987), Kreider’s now in line for another first.
More, from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times:
With his goal in Game 1 Monday, the Rangers rookie Chris Kreider tied an NHL record for most playoff goals scored in a single postseason by a player who has not yet skated in a regular-season game.
Kreider’s goal, which gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in their 3-0 victory over the Devils, was his third of the playoffs. That tied him atop this peculiar category with Ray Cote of the 1983 Edmonton Oilers and George McPhee of the 1983 Rangers – now the general manager of the Washington Capitals, whom Kreider scored a goal against in the second round.
Kreider was not aware of the distinction when asked about it Wednesday before Game 2 at the Garden.
“That’s kind of obscure,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of thoughts about it.”
If/when Kreider gets goal No. 4, he’ll break free of Cote and McPhee and join even more elite company. Only one other player — Eddie Mazur of the Montreal Canadiens — scored four goals before playing a regular season game.
The big difference, of course, is that Mazur’s four goals came over the span of three postseasons (1951-53) whereas Kreider’s would come in a single postseason.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.