Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 1 (Rangers lead series 1-0)
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
The Rangers put rookie Chris Kreider into the lineup during their first round series against Ottawa, and with every game he seems to be making a bigger impact.
His minutes have started to increase, and after scoring the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the previous series, he had a hand in two Rangers goals on Saturday during their 3-1 win over the Capitals. His goal midway through the third period (shown above) proved to be the game-winner -- his second of these playoffs -- and then two minutes later he was credited with an assist on a Brad Richards goal.
The 20-year-old rookie has appeared in just six games during his NHL career, all of them in these playoffs, and he doesn't look out of place. His name was one of the ones talked about in the Rick Nash trade rumors back in February and right now you have to think Rangers fans are pleased such a deal never went through.
Early in the second period the Capitals had a 34-second 5-on-3 power play. In a game that figured to be low scoring you knew it was going to be a huge moment. The Capitals failed to score (and failed to generate many quality chances) and the impressive kill by the blue shirts seemed to ignite the Madison Square Garden crowd as well as the Rangers.
Five minutes later Artem Anisimov scored the first goal of the game for New York.
Defense. Defense. Defense. And more defense.
The two teams combined for just 32 shots on goal. After the first period the Rangers had only four, and it took them nearly 24 minutes for one of their forwards to record a shot (their first four shots belonged to defensemen).
You better get used to it, because this is what this series is going to look like.
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.