GREENBURGH, NY – Chris Kreider would likely have hit any top 10 highlight show if he had been able to hit with that lacrosse shot he blasted Boston Bruins goalkeeper Jeremy Swayman at 5-2 on Friday -The Rangers won against the Bruins.
Replay confirmed the puck hadn’t gone into the net, but the fact that Kreider was trying to pull such a cheeky game surprised some.
“I had no idea,” said coach Gerard Gallant on Monday when asked if he knew Kreider had this move available. “It’s the first time I’ve seen it. But that was pretty close. Really nice action.”
Kreider said he was practicing moving. It is sometimes called “the Michigan Gate” because it was first seen in a college game in 1996. Michigan’s striker Mike Legg picked up the puck, came around the gate and put it in the net against Minnesota.
“You can play around with that occasionally,” said Kreider. “I had a little breakup [from the defender]. The puck wasn’t completely flat [on the ice]. So I thought I’ll give it a try. ”
Kreider insisted he didn’t try to make the move just because his confidence is sky high. He has scored 15 goals in the Rangers’ first 20 games which ties him
with Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane for third place in the league behind Leon Draisaitl (20) and Alexander Ovechkin (19) who come into play on Monday.
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But Kreider doesn’t like to talk about his own success. He prefers to rave about how well his teammates – linemate Mika Zibanejad and powerplay linemates Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox and Ryan Strome – put him on his feet.
His nine power play goals on Monday were second in the NHL after Draisaitl’s 10. He said his teammates are so good at blocking defenders and sending him spot-on passes to fend off goalkeepers.
He recalled talking to former Boston College teammate Cam Atkinson about what it’s like to play in line with Panarin. Atkinson’s best season, 2018-19, came when he played with Panarin for Columbus. The Rangers signed Panarin as a free agent in the summer of 2019.
“He’s been talking a bit about … being ready for the puck, although he didn’t necessarily think he’d get the puck,” said Kreider. “I mean … [Panarin’s] so good at meeting you with misdirections. There have been many times in the past few years that I somehow stand up straight and suddenly [the pass is] right between my legs. If I had been ready, I probably would have had a better opportunity. ”
Striker Greg McKegg didn’t train because he was on COVID-19 log, the team said, but Gallant said he wasn’t worried about more players joining him. “I hope not,” he said. “I’m not worried today. I mean everyone else tested negative.” He said that while everyone on the team was fully vaccinated, he didn’t know if any of the players had a booster.
Colin Stephenson reports on the Rangers for Newsday. He has spent more than two decades covering the NHL and almost all sports teams in the New York area.