Chris Kreider's Goal Draws Wayne Gretzky Comparison in Rangers' Game 7 Win

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 31, 2022

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates his goal with center Mika Zibanejad (93) during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, Monday, May 30, 2022, in Raleigh, N.C. Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (22)looks on. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
AP Photo/Chris Seward

It took eight minutes for the New York Rangers to take the air out of PNC Arena on Monday night en route to a 6-2 Game 7 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The first period hadn't even hit the halfway mark when power-play goals by Adam Fox and Chris Kreider put the Rangers up 2-0.

ESPN @espn

The Rangers are ROLLIN' ‼️<br><br>Chris Kreider makes it 2-0 😀 <a href="https://t.co/AbRdqtQom2">pic.twitter.com/AbRdqtQom2</a>

New York Rangers @NYRangers

🎯 <a href="https://t.co/ZLg8oD1yhc">pic.twitter.com/ZLg8oD1yhc</a>

Kreider scored for a second time in the third period on an incredible breakaway effort. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Chris Kreider hit 25mph on this breakaway beauty 😳πŸ”₯ <a href="https://t.co/gtXStPvjGP">pic.twitter.com/gtXStPvjGP</a>

Naturally, Kreider was singled out for his performance.

Brendan Dunlop @Brendan_Dunlop

The scoreboard says Chris Kreider scored. But that’s a Wayne Gretzky goal right there! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NYR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NYR</a>

Dan Rosen @drosennhl

Chris Kreider with a ridiculous goal filled with speed and finesse. Rangers lead it 4-0.

Dave Nyczepir @DaveNyczepir

Kreider getting hot right before the Rangers (knock on wood) face the Lightning is exactly what this team needs.

Katie Brown @katiebhockey

Remember when John Tortorella kept benching Chris Kreider lmao

StatsCentre @StatsCentre

Putting away another in the 3rd frame, Kreider has moved into sole possession of 6th in career <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> Playoff points with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NYR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NYR</a> franchise (50). He also has joined Derick Brassard (9 in 2015) as the only Rangers players since 1998 to post 8+ goals in a single playoff year <a href="https://t.co/bivE5eKHXC">https://t.co/bivE5eKHXC</a>

The 31-year-old spearheaded an efficient attack. New York quickly took the crowd out of the game, and it wasted little time erasing any momentum Carolina built.

While it would have been unlikely, a comeback still looked possible when Vincent Trocheck netted the Hurricanes' first goal at the 8:11 mark of the third period to make it 4-1. But only 40 seconds later, Filip Chytil answered.

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

The Rangers take the momentum right back and make it 5-1 πŸ₯Ά <a href="https://t.co/d2B3OX8mgJ">pic.twitter.com/d2B3OX8mgJ</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

Pain. <a href="https://t.co/Jos9JYJ0dv">pic.twitter.com/Jos9JYJ0dv</a>

The two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning await the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.

Tampa Bay needed seven games to take out the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round but then swept the Florida Panthers, who collected a league-high 122 points in the regular season.

In that series, the Panthers put just three goals past 2018-19 Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Rangers will undoubtedly need Monday's version of Kreider in the next round.