WASHINGTON — It took until there was a minute and 41 seconds left in the Rangers’ season on Friday for Chris Kreider to score the team’s first goal of the game. Kreider forced overtime and the Rangers earned themselves another game.
Kreider didn’t wait nearly as long in Sunday’s Game 6 to help stave off elimination again, scoring 40 seconds in and again with three-tenths of a second left in the first to jumpstart the Rangers in their 4-3 win.
After Troy Brouwer took a penalty with 3.4 seconds left in the first, Derek Stepan won an offensive-zone faceoff, leading to a Derick Brassard point shot. The deflection hit off John Carlson’s right skate and went through a fallen Braden Holtby’s legs. Kreider pounced on the loose puck in the crease and converted into the wide-open net, an important goal considering the push Washington gave the rest of the game.
It also showed a reversal of the end of Game 1 when the Rangers didn’t play to the whistle and blew the game with 1.3 seconds left.
“I was in his wheelhouse,” said Kreider, whose five postseason goals are tied for the team lead with Brassard. “I just thought get to the net. Nice bounce. Set up nicely for me.”
The 24-year-old also opened the scoring in the game when he raced up the right side into the neutral zone to pick up a loose puck at the red line and fought off Matt Niskanen while maintaining puck possession with one hand on his stick. He skated into the slot, spun to get his back toward net, was able to get his left hand back on the stick and backhanded a shot by Holtby stick-side for the early 1-0 lead.
“When he gets the puck wide with speed like that, he’s one of the tougher players to defend, and I hope I never have to do it, because it looks miserable,” Marc Staal said.
“He’s kind of a freak of nature,” Dan Girardi added.
MOBILE USER? WATCH THE RANGERS AFTER THEIR GAME 6 WIN
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