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Ranger return? Kreider (hand) cleared to play

May 7, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

Chris Kreider Getty Images

The New York Rangers could be getting a big lineup presence back for tonight’s Game 4 versus Pittsburgh.

Forward Chris Kreider, fifth on the team in goals (17) this year, has been medically cleared after undergoing hand surgery on Mar. 28 and could play for the first time in 20 games, per reports.

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t offering much in the way of status updates at this morning’s skate, however. He said the 23-year-old was still “day-to-day” and wouldn’t give any insight if Kreider would be on his lineup card for tonight’s big game.

New York could certainly use him, though.

The Rangers have failed to score in consecutive games and while Kreider doesn’t have much playoff experience, he does have a history of scoring playoff goals — in 2012, he jumped straight from Boston College to the Stanley Cup playoffs and broke a 59-year-old record by scoring the most postseason goals (five) before playing a regular-season NHL game.

Where Kreider could really help is on the power play, as the Rangers have failed to score on their last 30 man advantage opportunities.

“(His) size and speed obviously would put pressure on (the Penguins) defense. Obviously Kreids was really good with the net presence on the power play. Him and (Benoit Pouliot), when we were using both of those guys on different units, we were doing a good job there,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News. “He would definitely bring a lot to our lineup. There’s no doubt there.”

  1. hockey412 - May 7, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    He should probably give it another week or so.

    • markelavs123 - May 7, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      You must be a Penguins fan to think that way

      • hockey412 - May 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Yep.

  2. gregman98 - May 7, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I don’t get why AV wouldn’t just say that K is in.

    If this was early in the series or if the Rangers had a series lead, it would be conceivable that he’d be kept out. But since the Rangers are 1 loss away from being on the brink of elimination – AND the guy has been cleared – there’s no way he’s going be a healthy scratch. The Penguins know it…doesn’t make any sense being coy.

    • 7mantel - May 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Same reason Orpiks injury is listed as undisclosed .

    • hockey412 - May 7, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Still, doesn’t hurt to keep him guessing. Bylsma juggles his lines a lot…at the very least, even if it doesn’t change much, it’d be cool to be a coach and get the other guy flustered last minute.

  3. xdj511 - May 7, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Kreider could be just the shot in the arm they needed. Hopefully it’s not too late (and he’s not too rusty) to make a difference.

  4. rpiotr01 - May 7, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    I wish I thought he’d make a bigger difference for the Rangers, but I don’t see it. The difference makers have been on the ice the whole time – Nash, St Louis, McDonaugh, Richards, Step. These guys need to score, period. I like Kreider’s speed and he’ll stick his nose in there but he’s missed so much time, he’s going to have an awful lot of rust.

  5. bleedrangerblue - May 7, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Anyone who is skeptical of Kreiders return is not thinking clearly. How could it possibly hurt to have his size and speed in the lineup. This way they can take Fast out who clearly looked scared on the bench. LGR!!!

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