One of the nice things about watching the Ranger prospects before they become New York Rangers is that we have gotten to see what the prospects are capable of doing. In the case of Chris Kreider, it was no surprise that he scored the game-winning goal in game 1 the way he did because we have seen this play before.
At the same time, we are left wondering why it took John Tortorella so long to use Chris Kreider with Derek Stepan? Even more curious is Kreider is actually more advanced defensively that he is on offense.
If anything Kreider is just as good on defense as Carl Hagelin but he is better than Derek Stepan. Tortorella system is only complicated because Tortorella said so but it really is not because it is a basic defense that carries an addiction to shot blocking to it.
It would be easy to dwell on the past and ask why but instead the Kreider goal just might be more important than winning game one. Now what we need to see from John Tortorella is that he take a page from his own playbook "safe is death."
First here is the game-winner from today
Now take a peek at these highlights from the 2010 World Under-20 championships and you'll see what Derek Stepan remembered from playing with Chris Kreider.
It is a difference maker because what you saw from today's clip, the Washington defenders could not stay with Chris Kreider once he got going. So between Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, and Marion Gaborik; the Rangers now have a way to take the Washington Capitals defenseman out of their offense.
Put Kreider or the other two players at the top of the slot area, right in the middle and make sure the Washington defensemen see them. It's kind of like football where team knows where the blitzing guys are coming from so they attack that spot to keep them from blitzing.
The Washington defenders will hesitate to jump in on the attack when they know Kreider or whoever is as we call it "cherry picking." When you get a chance to freeze the defense out of the offense then it makes it easier for the rest of the team to defend against the forwards.
The mere threat of a breakout pass and the Rangers have some excellent passers on their team is enough to cause problems for the Capitals. The Dale Hunter run Washington Capitals are more paranoid about opening up their attack than the Rangers are.
Yes the Rangers got a lot of help from the Capitals hitting so many posts but when one player can take two away from the attack just by the threat of their speed then you have to consider using it.
The Rangers now have a way to put a lot of pressure on Washington defense as well as their rookie goalie. I bet it was not just us who felt Braden Holtby was nothing like the rookie will beat the Rangers in the regular season finale.
3 goals on only 14 shots? Only the Kreider goal was one he could not stop but the other two from Anisimov and Richards should have been stopped.
Even better is that come Monday night the Rangers need to just do the same things until Holtby can prove he can stop them. Rattle the rookie's confidence by looking for the breakout pass and generate odd man rushes.
The Talking Heads
It is very hard to take some of the stuff that the "hockey experts" say very seriously when a lot of what they say leave you scratching your head.
For example why in game one of the series was such a big deal being made about the Ranger forwards scoring goals and we quote "for the first time since game six against Ottawa"?
Really? Are they serious? The Ranger forwards went one game without scoring goals and that's a cause for concern? Yes it would be nice if Marion Gaborik could score some goals no doubt about it.
But do we really have to point out that both game seven goals against Ottawa were set up by great plays made by Ranger forwards? Should we be worried that no Ranger defensemen had a point in game one on Saturday?
Why exactly are people making a big deal about losing the previous playoff series to Washington? On that point it's hard to argue with Tortorella because the team is different, their team is different and what happened in those other series is not really relevant today.
It's really getting old the way people are treating the team that finished in first place in the Eastern conference as if they barely made the playoffs. At last check the Rangers did advance to the second round despite few people believing in them.
The Rangers might be the only team in the NHL that could go 82-0 during the regular season and still be seen as pretenders instead of contenders. Boston is gone, Pittsburgh is gone, so is Vancouver and Detroit but the Rangers are still here maybe it's time to give the team some credit.
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(Kreider- Blueshirt United)
2 hours ago