New York Rangers top prospect Chris Kreider made his NHL debut Monday night in the Rangers’ 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup. The Rangers lead the series 2-1.
Kreider, who signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers last week just two days after winning his second National Championship at Boston College, played 11:11 and skated alongside Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards throughout the night in the absence of Carl Hagelin, who was handed a three-game suspension for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson in Game 2.
As expected, Kreider didn’t see much action late in the third period with the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead. Head coach John Tortorella said he wanted Kreider to watch the game from the bench to get a better view of the game. Kreider took it in stride.
When asked what he learned, Kreider said: “What it takes to win at this level. More than anything, how the guys have bought into this series. It’s a winning brand of hockey and I was able to see that from the bench.”
Kreider nearly had his first NHL goal in his first game. With a few seconds left in the second period, Kreider had a golden opportunity on the goalmouth but couldn’t get stick on the puck.
“I’m still thinking about it, I just missed it,” Kreider said. “I was so excited I just missed it.”
Kreider said there wasn’t any pressure for him playing on the top-line. “I don’t think there was pressure because they were so helpful,” Kreider said. “My role was made clear. They didn’t expect me to make all-world plays. Obviously, it’s a great opportunity, I didn’t think coming in I’d be in that situation.”
Quotes courtesy of Rangers Rants
Honestly, the kid should stick around even when Hagelin returns in two games. At this point, John Mitchell has done nothing to keep himself in the lineup. He’s not overly physical, is offensively-challenged and isn’t trusted in the crunch time. He played 6:38 tonight.
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