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Rangers are struggling to find offensive production with absence of Chris Kreider

Rangers comeback to win
New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider (20) scores against Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen (40) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Rangers won 5-3. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photos

As an alternate captain, Chris Kreider’s impact on and off the ice has been a major reason for the New York Rangers’ success over the last two seasons. 

Kreider’s career-high in goals last season helped the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Finals. He may not be on the same pace in 2023, but the 31-year-old’s impact on the Blueshirts has remained a key part of the team’s success. 

You just have to look at the last few games to understand why. New York may have won two of their last three games last week, but the manner in which they won left much to be desired. And it goes both ways for the Rangers. 

Offensive Production

In the Rangers’ 4-3 shootout win over Minnesota last Tuesday, Kreider exited the game late in the third and New York was unable to score late as the game was forced into a shootout. Against Dallas, a late miracle run overshadowed the fact that New York’s offense has been less than ideal since the Rangers’ leading scorer has gone out. 

New York’s has scored seven goals in the last three games since Kreider went out. Only two of those have come from forwards Filip Chytil and Artemi Panarin. 

It’s great that K’Andre Miller and Adam Fox have the skillset to be able to help on the offensive end, but when the team loses a winnable 2-1 contest to lowly Montreal, the offensive problems are real. 

And it goes directly to when Chris Kreider was ruled out. 

Powerplay Woes

The New York Rangers have not scored in their last 11 powerplay chances. While the first four chances were with Kreider on the ice, his absence has been a major issue for the Blueshirts as they try to solve their extra-man woes over the last week. 

Alexis Lafreniere has taken Kreider’s place for the time being, but New York has struggled to muster much on offense with a man-advantage. Frankly, it looks like a totally different group without their leading scorer on the ice. 

Chris Kreider doesn’t lead the team in powerplay goals, but his mere presence on the ice sets up players like Mika Zibanejad a lot better than others. And it’s his absence that is leading to prolonged struggles on the powerplay. 

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