With the Rangers losing by 3-1 late into the third period, Gerard Gallant pulled Igor Shesterkin as an additional attack.
Coming out of a timeout to set up a play, the Rangers won the face-off, Adam Fox wristed a shot from the point that enabled Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp to get a stick on before Kreider had a rebound from his net-front office.
In hitting number 50 on the season, Kreider joins an exclusive club of Rangers. He is only the fourth Rangers player ever to reach the mark, and the first-ever since Jaromir Jagr scored a record 54 goals in the offense-happy post-lockout season of 2005-06.
Adam Graves scored 52 goals in the Rangers’ Cup-winning 1993-94 season, while Vic Hadfield tallied precisely 50 in 1971-72. In addition, Kreider has already set the franchise record with 25 power-play goals this season.
Kreider’s ascendancy has been unique. A first-round draft pick (19th overall) of the Rangers in 2009, Kreider came into the league with a rare combination of size, strength, and speed. It seemed he had all the physical tools to be a prolific goalscorer.
However, he never approached elite scoring levels.
Then came this season. Conventional wisdom would have suggested that at age 30 and with plenty of experience under his belt, Kreider was what he was and would remain, at best, a 25-ish goalscorer for a couple more years before beginning to wind down.
The fact that he has blown his previous production out of the water in his age-30 season is astounding.