His coach and teammates find themselves at a loss for words when they try and describe the surprising impact Chris Kreider has made in the playoffs, playing in his first six games as a professional hockey player after being inserted into the lineup for Game 3 of the opening round series against the Ottawa Senators.
Saturday afternoon at The Garden Kreider continued to amaze, scoring the game-winning goal seven minutes into the thrid period on a mammouth slap shot, and assisting on Brad Richards' goal 90 seconds later, in a 3-1 Blueshirts victory. After the game Kreider was awarded his first Broadway Hat by his teammates.
"It's hard to believe it was only a few weeks ago (he helped Boston College win the NCAA championship)," Kreider said following Game One. "It's crazy. I am a little more comfortable here now. Before I just kept my mouth shut and minded my own business, but now I am more comfortable and am asking questions---probably a few too many questions!"
Playing on a line with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan, Kreider logged 15:22 worth of ice-time and fired one shot on goal---his second game-winning goal of the playoffs already. He also missed wide of the net five times, and played a strong two-way game en-route to his two-point (1-1-2) performance in Game One---one that spurred the Garden Faithful to chant his name during the third period.
"It's not a moment that I have daydreamed about, having the crowd chant my name, but it's still a pretty surreal moment," explained Kreider, who is 2-1-3 in six games, so far.