Kreider Closes Out Canes With 3rd Period Hat Trick

In a pivotal Game 6 against the Hurricanes, Chris Kreider cemented his name in NHL and Rangers playoff history with a remarkable third-period natural hat trick. Kreider’s heroic performance not only secured the victory, but propelled the Rangers to the ECF for the second time in three seasons. Kreider’s hat trick was more than just a personal achievement, it was a defining moment in the Rangers’ playoff run. Fans can take a deep breath, knowing they don’t have to wait to sweat out a Game 7 at MSG and have a few days off.

The Build-Up to Game 6

The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes entered Game 6 of their best-of-7 Eastern Conference second-round series with the Rangers leading 3-2. The Hurricanes staved off elimination in Game 5, defeating New York 4-1 at MSG despite trailing 1-0 after two periods. The passiveness and lack of effort in Game 5 was shocking. Fans left the game early and left frightened not knowing what to expect in Game 6 back in Carolina. Rangers coach Peter Laviolette expressed concern after the team’s performance in Game 5, stating they were “off their mark” and didn’t play with the necessary speed, offensive attack, or attention to detail. However, he remained confident in the group’s ability to respond, as they had done throughout the season.

The Pressure and Expectations

As the Presidents’ Trophy Winners, the Rangers faced high expectations to advance to the Eastern Conference Final, something that had not been done since 2015 (when the Rangers did it).

After taking a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Hurricanes rallied to win the next two, with the chance to head back home to try and force a Game 7 at MSG. That Game 7 might have killed New Yorkers. The Rangers’ stars needed to step up and deliver in this pivotal game.

For the first two periods Rangers fans were disgusted. It looked as if no adjustments were made after the previous two losses. The Blueshirts were determined to bring a better game to Raleigh but faced early challenges.

Kreider’s Monumental Third Period

Chris Kreider, the Rangers’ longest-tenured player, has been a key contributor in the postseason, leading the team with seven goals; but it’s his intangibles alongside his goal scoring that cannot go unnoticed. Kreider’s playoff experience and leadership were crucial for the Rangers as they aimed to close out the series. His remarkable third-period performance propelled the New York Rangers to a stunning comeback victory. Kreider’s natural hat trick turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The Canes had a push to tie the game late with an extra attacker before Barclay Goodrow finished them off with an empty net goal. 

Kreider’s first goal came at 6:43, as he punched the puck in before Andersen could secure it against the right post off a shot from Mika Zibanejad. This goal cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-2 and gave the Rangers a glimmer of hope. The second goal came on the power play at 11:54, with Kreider tipping a long wrist shot by Artemi Panarin to tie the game at 3-3. This goal snapped the Rangers’ power-play drought and shifted the momentum in their favor. The hat trick was completed at 15:41 when Ryan Lindgren circled the net and passed to Kreider in front for a tap-in, putting the Rangers ahead 4-3. This goal proved to be the game-winner and series-clincher for New York.

Historic Hat Trick

Kreider’s third-period hat trick placed him in elite company amongst Rangers players. There have been only three playoff hat tricks in Rangers history: Mark Messier scored a hat trick in Game 6 of the 1994 Conference Final in New Jersey; three years later, The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, scored a hat trick in Game 4 of the 1997 Conference Quarterfinals against the Florida Panthers. Kreider also became the third player in Rangers history to score a hat trick in a potential series-clinching game, joining Mike Gartner (1990) and Steve Vickers (1973).

Rangers Stars

While Kreider’s individual effort was monumental, the Rangers’ comeback was a team effort. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin each recorded assists on Kreider’s goals, with Zibanejad setting up the first and Panarin assisting on the second. Vincent Trocheck, who has been phenomenal against his former squad, began the Rangers scoring after they fell behind early. Igor Shesterkin made some more magnificent saves, 33 in total, to keep the Rangers within striking distance. It really is amazing that they need to fall behind two goals to show a sense of urgency.

Eastern Conference Finals

The Rangers’ are not going to get as much rest as they had hoped originally, when they were up 3-0 against Carolina. They will face either the Florida Panthers or the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final. New York will have home-ice advantage against either opponent. 

The Rangers went 1-2-0 against the Panthers and 3-0-0 against the Bruins during the regular season. New York and Florida have played once in the playoffs, with the Rangers winning in five games in 1997. The Rangers and Bruins have played 10 times in the playoffs, with Boston winning seven of those series. Their most recent matchup was in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Rangers last advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

The Show Goes On

Chris Kreider’s unforgettable hat trick will be highlighted when they put his jersey in the rafters one day. Even though he has been with the Rangers since 2012, he still find new ways to serve as the fan’s hero. Kreider’s achievement showcased playoff experience and leadership when the team needed it most. As their playoff journey, they cannot afford games with their similar efforts to Games 4 and 5. With a talented roster, they will need to regroup and refocus their attention on a new opponent.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *