One of the good things about the NHL playoff format is that there aren't many secrets between divisional rivals. The teams know each other really well from the regular season, but even better considering the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers played a 7 game series last May.
Here was our series from last year:
Name: Chris Kreider
Weight: 226 lbs.
Born: April 30, 1990 (23 years old)
Drafted:NYR 1st round pick, 2009 (19th overall)
2014-15 stat line: 80 games played, 21 goals, 25 assists, 88 penalty minutes, +24 (+/-)
2013-14 playoff stat line: 15 GP, 5G, 8A, 14 PIMs
2014-15 stats vs Penguins: 3 GP, 0G, 2A, 2 PIMs, even (+/-)
2014-15 5v5 Advanced Stats: 50.2 CF%, +5.1% Corsi Relative, 104.6 PDO
Player detail (via The Hockey News player page)
|Assets:||Has great speed, to go along with his impressive size and scoring upside. Can play either a power forward or goal-scoring role. Can also play the center position, if need be.|
|Flaws:||Still needs to round out his all-round game and utilize his big frame more to his advantage in order to maximize his scoring potential in the National Hockey League.|
|Career Potential:||Big, speedy scoring forward with good upside.|
2013-14 New York Rangers player usage, via War on Ice
HERO chart (via Own the Puck)
Analysis:Kreider is in good company here- he's being used like a top 6 forward getting favorable zone starts, and he has made good things happen with what he's been given, as you can see from the HERO chart he's producing point at a solid rate, with no real weaknesses to be seen.
Most common linemates: His most common linemates this season are Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis. Interestingly enough, though, this trio hasn't been great at Corsi when together- and they get tougher assignments. Kreider has really flourished when he played with Derick Brassard (60.2% CF) and Mats Zuccarello (56.0%) , but luckily for the Pens it doesn't look like Kreider will be playing with them in the playoffs.
Why you should know who he is: Kreider's a very fast player, he's got great size, good hands and has a mean streak with no stranger to going to the net, even if it means hitting a goalie. He's a potential game-breaker with his abilities and opens up a lot of ice for other players on the team as well.
How the Pens can stop him: Keep the puck away from him as much as possible, and be very mindful of his speed in the transition game. To keep Kreider from hurting the Pens, Pittsburgh needs to control the puck and limit the offensive chances that this player can generate. And also watch out for him crashing the net on Marc-Andre Fleury. Kreider is a hard-nosed player who has made a habit of contact with goaltenders before, Pittsburgh definitely can't afford for him to contact their goalie.