The New York Rangers Cannot Let the Chris Kreider Injury Become an Excuse

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers skates against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2019 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers continue to struggle without Chris Kreider, falling 5-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday afternoon at MSG. Mika Zibanejad scored two goals and Pavel Buchnevich scored once for the Rangers but it was not enough. The Flyers scored four goals on special teams to extend their season-long winning streak to six games. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves in his first start since facing the Dallas Stars on Feb. 3. However, the most apparent takeaway from this game was the team missing injured star Chris Kreider, and not having enough players step up enough to overcome his absence.

All of the New York Rangers need to step up in Kreider’s absence

It will take more than just waiting for Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin to carry the whole load. The Blueshirts will need to have all players pick up their game if they want to continue their playoff run. They have done it before. Head Coach David Quinn reminded everyone about that fact when he commented about how the team played earlier in the season when they lost Zibanejad for a bunch of games. “I don’t think anybody thought that we were going to have any success without Mika and we went 8-4-1. We beat some good teams without Mika. I think we all feel that we’re a much better hockey team today than we were in November when we didn’t have Mika.” This will become even more important as they are in the middle of a big 19 game stretch, which started with the home-and-home contests against the Flyers. In this stretch, 14 will come against teams occupying playoff spots, and 10 will come on the road. They play the past three Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, a combined six times, while also drawing the Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning. With no timetable yet on Kreider’s return, the Blueshirts will need to regroup and see what they can do to better there play until their valuable injured players come back to the ice.