Chris Kreider finished the regular season as New York’s leading goalscorer, but when he failed to produce anything through two playoff games, head coach Alain Vigneault called him out for being ordinary.
Vigneault’s tactic didn’t really work, as Kreider was invisible in Game 3, and the Rangers ended up losing the game 3-1.
In Game 5, Kreider finally came through in the biggest moment. He recovered the loose puck in his own end and skated it into the offensive zone before getting the puck to Mika Zibanejad, who scored the game-winning goal to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
“You stick with it. You persevere,” Kreider said after the win, per The Post. “I’m not the only player to go through a tough time. You don’t put your head down. You make adjustments. You don’t let the valleys overwhelm you or demoralize you.
“Now we get ready. Now we get to go home and try to end it.”
Since that ugly performance on home ice in Game 3, New York has been pretty good. The Canadiens may have been the better team in the first half of last night’s game, but somewhere around the midway point of the second period, things changed. The Rangers were even better in OT.
If they can keep playing this way and Henrik Lundqvist continues to be as dominant as he’s been through five games, it’ll be hard for Montreal to beat them twice in a row.