Chris Kreider is arguably the top player left on the trade block, but his stellar play might make it hard for the Rangers to deal him. He has 17 goals and 29 points in his last 28 games and that’s helped propel the Rangers too. On Friday, Kreider scored the winner and registered an assist to extend the Rangers’ winning streak to four games and boost them to seven victories over their last nine contests.
The Rangers still aren’t in a playoff position – in fact they’re seven points back in the Wild Card race – but with the way they’ve been performing lately, it’s hard for them to dismiss the possibility that they can somehow squeak into the playoffs if they just hold onto Kreider. On the flip side though, Kreider’s recent play doesn’t make it any easier to re-sign him. He’s reportedly seeking a cap hit in the $7 million range, which would be difficult for the Rangers to work under the ceiling. His strong play only strengthens his negotiating position.
If the Rangers keep performing like this, it will be interesting to see if they ultimately decide to hang onto Kreider or if they opt to stick with their rebuilding plan by trading him even if it potentially ends their lingering playoff hopes.
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SAN JOSE 3 WINNIPEG 2
Timo Meier scored the game-winning goal. It was his 19th marker and 38th point in 57 games.
Melker Karlsson also found the back of the net for San Jose. He has four goals and nine points in 53 contests.
Aaron Dell saved 30 of 32 Jets shots. He has a 2.85 GAA and .911 save percentage in 28 games.
Blake Wheeler contributed a goal and an assist for the Jets. He’s up to 18 goals and 51 points in 59 contests.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 of 35 shots on Friday. That gives him a 24-18-5 record, 2.71 GAA, and .919 save percentage in 48 games.
PITTSBURGH 4 MONTREAL 1
Jason Zucker scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner. It was his first two goals as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Three of Pittsburgh’s four goals were assisted on by Sidney Crosby. He has 10 goals and 34 points in 28 contests this season.
Tristan Jarry stopped 34 of 35 shots Friday night. He has a 19-8-1 record, 2.14 GAA, and .930 save percentage in 28 contests.
At the other end of the ice, Carey Price saved 24 of 27 shots. He’s lost his last three games, allowing three goals in each of those contests.
Montreal’s lone goal was scored by Tomas Tatar. He’s up to 21 goals and 53 points in 60 games.
NY RANGERS 3 COLUMBUS 1
Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 36 of 37 Blue Jackets shots. He improved to 14-11-1 with a 3.02 GAA and .911 save percentage in 27 games.
Chris Kreider scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has 23 goals and 42 points in 56 games.
Pavel Buchnevich also contributed a goal for the Rangers. It was his 13th marker and 35th point in 57 games.
Oliver Bjorkstrand netted the Blue Jackets’ only goal. He’s up to 19 goals and 32 points in 46 games.
Elvis Merzlikins turned aside 25 of 27 shots last night. He’s allowed just six goals over his last three starts and yet the Blue Jackets have lost all of those games.
CAROLINA 5 NEW JERSEY 2
Martin Necas scored a goal and registered an assist. He has 15 goals and 31 points in 53 contests this season.
Nino Niederreiter also had a goal and an assist for Carolina. That gives him eight goals and 25 points in 56 games.
Petr Mrazek stopped 35 of 37 Devils shots. He has a 19-15-2 record, 2.72 GAA, and .903 save percentage in 36 contests.
Mirco Mueller scored a goal for New Jersey. It was his second goal and fifth point in 36 games.
Louis Domingue turned aside 26 of 31 shots on Friday. He has a 3-7-2 record, 3.86 GAA, and .878 save percentage in 15 contests.