50 goals a reasonable performance for local Chris Kreider

Did. You. See!

Did. You. See. Chris!

Did. You. See. Chris. Score. No. 50!

It came at 6:22 p.m. on Tuesday in the third period at the Garden, it took the lead and set up a six-a-side with an extra attacker in a 4-2 loss to the ‘Canes that saw hopes up nullified a first-place finish and dampened celebrations for and around the fourth 50-goal scorer in franchise history and the first by a native Blueblood.

There was Vic Hadfield, who finished 49th and 50th in the final game of the 1971/72 season, then Adam Graves, who finished 52 en route to cup winners in 1993/94, and then Jaromir Jagr, who left the franchise at 54 in 2005 -Record broke. 06

And now there’s Kreider, that Kid K who, at the age of 20, joined the blueshirts for the 2012 playoffs within a week of winning the national championship in his junior season for Boston College, and one each for the next two seasons before that Time spent in the AHL returning to Broadway forever in October 2013.

And now he is a member of the esteemed circle of 50 goals. I don’t know if anyone could have ever seen that coming. I don’t know if anyone imagined Kreider becoming the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals for the first time in at least his 10th season, having never scored 30 goals before. You know the first who achieved this fate? It was Hadfield 50 years and 10 days ago.

This magical season, in which Kreider set a franchise record with 24 power play goals and counting, has crept up on pretty much everyone. But after they scored twice to reach 49 in Saturday’s playoff win over Ottawa, everyone started thinking about what’s next.

Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider celebrates his 50th goal of the season.

“To be honest, I’m just glad it’s over because I think it was in other people’s heads,” said Kreider, who has spoken eloquently about the sense of community in the Rangers’ room throughout the season. “We have a lot of really good guys who drew for me; incredible teammates.

“I could feel guys looking for me. [The Hurricanes] play tight man-to-man and my good buddy Brett Pesce was tight with me a lot and the boys were looking for me. I said Mike [Zibanejad] that I felt like a shooting guard most of the night trying to work through picks and get open, but that’s how they play defense.

“I think it’s better for the whole team now that we can play hockey again and take what the other team gives us,” said Kreider, who had two shots on four tries in 20:24 ice time. “Like I said, we have some absolutely incredible people in this room pulling for me.

“It means the world to me. But now they can shoot the puck again and I can pay attention to the goalie again.”

Kreider is the Senior Ranger, one of three current members (with Zibanejad and Alex Georgiev) who were here before The Letter and before the rebuild/reload/reset. Increasingly prominent on franchise all-time lists, his 227 career goals rank him 11th in club history, one behind Hall of Famer Bill Cook.

He’d been a mediocre goalscorer throughout his career, known for internalizing himself to the max and putting extraordinary pressure on himself. If he missed, he wasn’t particularly visible. It was fitting to want to know, Did. You. See. Chris?

But that was then. The longest drought this season has been five games as he has turned net-front presence into an art form, using his clubface for angled deflections as if it were a protractor.

Additionally, Kreider hasn’t just evolved into a 50-goal scorer — 50! — but he’s transformed into a Zen-like personality. He has lived his life as a ranger well and has always been an upstanding and caring member of the community.

More than four years ago, in late December 2017, a blood clot was discovered in Kreider’s right arm, which led to a surgical procedure known as a rib resection. There was no guarantee that Kreider would be able to resume his career. Of course, he was back on the ice less than two months after the operation.

“At this point I consider it a blessing,” Kreider, who turns 31 on April 30, told The Post at the start of the season. “I didn’t realize at the time how scary it actually was and that I could come back and play hockey, I was just so grateful for that fact. It’s part of my narrative now. It changed my perspective.”

Do you know what else is part of the narrative? Fifty.

Did. You. See. Chris! 50 goals a reasonable performance for local Chris Kreider


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