MONTREAL - The boos started for Rangers power forward Chris Kreider when his name was announced with the starting lineups.
After all, his Game 1 collision with Carey Price on a breakaway knocked the Canadiens goaltender out of the Eastern Conference finals, and forced Kreider to assert his innocence earlier Monday and declare that he would not change his style.
Kreider didn't play the perceived villain very well, with four hits and a setup of Rick Nash's game-winning one-timer with a nifty cross-ice pass. "You want to win every game you play," Kreider said. "Personally, there's pressure in any playoff game."
Kreider did not have a shot on goal in 13:13 and took one penalty, a hold late in the second period, which caused no damage. "I think I'm a clean player," he said. "I don't go out with the intent to hurt anyone, ever, so I'm going to continue to try to score goals. I try to get to the net and they're going to try to keep me from getting to the net. There's going to be contact."
Asked if he would have done anything different on the play, which occurred at 3:15 of the second period with the Rangers ahead 2-0, Kreider responded: "I look back on it and wish I would have put it in the net. Obviously, I was trying to score a goal and I put it wide. It was a bang-bang play and it happened quickly."
Kreider, whose right leg was struck by the stick of Alexei Emelin and lost his footing, scored the Rangers' third goal, his second in five playoff games, later in the period.
Habs coach Michel Therrien, who Sunday called the incident "accidental," escalated the rhetoric Monday. "It's a reckless play," Therrien said. "That's the truth. Kreider, this is not the first time he is going at goalies. We end up losing our best player."
Henrik Lundqvist supported his teammate. "Kreids did not run Price at all," Lundqvist said. "I want to make that clear."
Notes & quotes:After a deep dry spell of 0-for-36, the Rangers have now scored a power-play goal in four of their last five games. They have also killed 20 consecutive penalties over seven games . . . Price wasn't the only regular missing Game 2. Rangers center Derick Brassard, who has four goals and seven points in the postseason, was scratched. Alain Vigneault chose to dress Dan Carcillo as a deterrent; he had four hits in 7:45. Brassard said after the game that he felt good, but did not guarantee that he would play in Game 3 on Thursday. Linemate Benoit Pouliot had a poor game without him, taking two unnecessary penalties and just one shot.