Ranger return? Kreider (hand) cleared to play


The New York Rangers could be getting a big lineup presence back for tonight’s Game 4 versus Pittsburgh.

Forward Chris Kreider, fifth on the team in goals (17) this year, has been medically cleared after undergoing hand surgery on Mar. 28 and could play for the first time in 20 games, per reports.

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t offering much in the way of status updates at this morning’s skate, however. He said the 23-year-old was still “day-to-day” and wouldn’t give any insight if Kreider would be on his lineup card for tonight’s big game.

New York could certainly use him, though.

The Rangers have failed to score in consecutive games and while Kreider doesn’t have much playoff experience, he does have a history of scoring playoff goals — in 2012, he jumped straight from Boston College to the Stanley Cup playoffs and broke a 59-year-old record by scoring the most postseason goals (five) before playing a regular-season NHL game.

Where Kreider could really help is on the power play, as the Rangers have failed to score on their last 30 man advantage opportunities.

“(His) size and speed obviously would put pressure on (the Penguins) defense. Obviously Kreids was really good with the net presence on the power play. Him and (Benoit Pouliot), when we were using both of those guys on different units, we were doing a good job there,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News. “He would definitely bring a lot to our lineup. There’s no doubt there.”