Chris Kreider had gone nine games without a goal before he scored into an empty net Saturday, the final goal of the Rangers’ 6-3 win over the Devils at Madison Square Garden.
Coach David Quinn put Kreider on the ice, on right wing, with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, with the Devils’ net empty and the Rangers already having scored an empty-netter, by Pavel Buchnevich. Strome and Ryan Lindgren assisted on Kreider’s goal, which was his 18th of the season.
"Goal scoring is so streaky, it's not just in our locker room, but throughout the league,’’ Quinn said when asked about the significance of Kreider scoring. "Sometimes when you get one, regardless of how you get it, more follow. And that's kind of how it's gone for most goal scorers in this league. It's certainly gone that way for Chris since he's been here.’’
Quinn said he thought Kreider was playing well leading up to the goal. Kreider’s centerman, Mika Zibanejad, made the point that Kreider does other things for the team besides score goals.
"Everyone knows how important he is for us, and just because he's not scoring -- he's working,’’ Zibanejad said of Kreider. "When the puck doesn't go in, everyone's been there. He's a pro.
"Now, he got one, he might score the next game again,’’ Zibanejad continued. "And if it doesn't, then, he's doing a lot of other things well, and contributing.’’
The victory means the Rangers have now earned points in five straight games (4-0-1), a season-high. Three straight wins also ties a season high… Panarin (goal, three assists) earned his 50th point of the season with his assist on Buchnevich’s empty-net goal. Buchnevich (three goals) and Strome (one goal, two assists) each reached 40 points or more on the season, joining Panarin and Adam Fox… Quinn stayed with the same lineup for the sixth straight game, meaning forwards Julien Gauthier and Phillip DiGiuseppe, and Ds Anthony Bitetto and Zac Jones were the scratches.