The Rangers’ power play has found its rhythm, and Chris Kreider has been the final note.
Kreider scored twice with the man-advantage for the second time in as many games in the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the Devils on Thursday night at Prudential Center.
His four power-play goals through the first two contests of this playoffs series have made him the first player in NHL history with that many in that span.
To put it in perspective, in the entire 2022 playoffs just eight players had four or more power-play goals. Kreider matched that number in just five periods of play.
“That’s what he does,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “Everybody knows what he’s capable of in this room, his teammates. He’s great in front of the net, and he’s a fast player. He’s physical, he can impact a game.
“As a defenseman, it’s fun playing defense, it’s hard to defend a guy who can tip pucks like that in front of the net. You got Mika [Zibanejad] and Kaner [Patrick Kane] and all these other guys to worry about, as well. He’s taking advantage of his opportunities and that’s good for our group.”
Both of Krieder’s scores Thursday came in the form of a tip on shots from Adam Fox from the top of the zone. Head coach Gerard Gallant credited Fox for shooting the puck more and therefore, creating more scoring chances for Kreider.
After Kreider’s two-goal performances in Games 1 and 2, the longest tenured Ranger now has five career multi-goal outings in the postseason. Adam Graves (7), Rod Gilbert (7), Mark Messier (6) and Don Maloney (6) are the only other Rangers who have more.
“He’s got a great stick, he’s done that for a long time,” Gallant said. “We’re finding ways to get goals and that’s huge for us.”
The Devils made some alterations to the lineup ahead of Game 2.
Yegor Sharangovich replaced Jesper Boqvist on the left side of the fourth line next to Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian.
Miles Wood was bumped up to the third line alongside Erik Haula and Tomas Tatar — who was replaced in the top side by the Devils’ big trade-deadline acquisition, Timo Meier.
Along with Meier, the Devils’ first line also featured Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer.
The second line of Ondrej Palat, Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt remained intact.
The Devils stuck with Vitek Vanecek, who gave up four goals on 22 shots in the series opener and five goals on 30 shots Thursday.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced in Game 2, including three saves on the penalty kill.
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