It didn’t take long, only 38 seconds, for New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider to make an impact on Saturday’s Game 2 against the Washington Capitals.
His goal, which came off a rebound in the first minute of play, got the Rangers started on their way to a dominant first period and an eventual win to even the series at one game apiece.
Kreider could’ve had more, too, his speed a factor throughout the game. He led all New York forwards in ice time, and had eight shot attempts to go with four hits.
“He’s a huge difference maker. He puts a big influence on the game for us the way he can skate, the way he can hit and his shot and his physicality,” said Ryan McDonagh, as per Rangers Rants. “All together it’s a tough combo to defend for anyone. It’s a good sign that he was able to get it going and he’s got to continue that for us if we want to be successful.”
Added Dan Boyle: “He’s been doing it all year. He’s the fastest player I’ve ever played with by far and I’ve played with some pretty fast players. Possibly the strongest. He’s done it all year long.”
Mark Giordano, out since Feb. 25 with torn biceps, took part in a full team practice with the Calgary Flames on Saturday, but head coach Bob Hartley quelled the notion of a dramatic and sudden return to the lineup.
“Today, it’s a good step in the right direction but he’s still very far,” said Hartley, as per Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun.
Despite the absence of their captain, best defenseman and arguably best player in Giordano, the Flames still managed to exceed expectations by getting into the post-season.
After a victory in the first round over Vancouver, the Flames are in tough (very tough) against the Anaheim Ducks. Game 2 of that series goes Sunday.
Calgary’s GM GM Brad Treliving said at the beginning of March that his prize blue liner was done for the season as a result of the injury. On Saturday, Giordano expressed optimism with the recovery.
“I don’t know,” Giordano told ESPN. “I think overall, rehab’s gone really well so far. You can’t really put a timeline on it, you’ve got to see how you function out there and how you feel. But so far everything’s gone really smoothly. So hopefully it keeps going that way.
“We haven’t really talked about putting a date on it. It’s going to be a lot more of this stuff and ramping it up more before I can even think of playing.”
The Flames trail the Ducks 1-0 in the series, after a brutal 6-1 loss in Game 1.
We continue to wait for a decision from Mike Babcock. Will he remain as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, or choose to take over behind the bench of another National Hockey League team, starting a new path in his career?
Don Cherry, during his Coach’s Corner segment on Friday, offered his input and advice for Babcock:
“Of all the guys in the world that should tell Babcock what to do, it’s me,” said Cherry, a Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s coach of the year with the Boston Bruins in 1975-76, as per Sportsnet.
“I have some suggestions for him,” Cherry continued. “I would say San Jose. Don’t go to a rebuilding team, it’ll break your heart. You only have one life, enjoy it. Go to San Jose. I bet he goes to San Jose, I think that’s where he’s going to go.”