Chris Kreider's 3rd period hat trick wills Rangers to Eastern Conference Final as Hurricanes stunned in Game 6


Chris Kreider, the New York Rangers veteran center, willed his team to the Eastern Conference Finals in a miraculous third-period, come-from-behind victory in Game 6 over the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3. 

The Rangers were down 3-1 heading into the third period on the road, and all signs were pointing to the Hurricanes battling all the way back from a 3-0 deficit in the series to a Game 7. The only remedy for the Rangers was to get gritty around the net, and find a way – any way – to get the puck in the net. 

Kreider has made a living in the NHL getting tough goals, and he stepped up when his team needed it, scoring three of them to give the Rangers the lead late in the third period. 

Yes, he scored a hat trick in one period. A legendary performance by a franchise great. 

The first of Kreider’s three goals in the period came 6:43 minutes into the most wild 20 minutes of this second-round series. Mika Zibanejad just threw the puck toward Hurricanes goalie Freddie Anderson as he cycled around his net, and it stuck on Anderson’s left skate. 

Kreider, who was charging toward the crease, saw the puck and simply slapped his stick at it before Anderson could get his glove down to ice it. That made it 3-2, and the Rangers started to smell some life despite rough first and second periods where Carolina was dominating. 


Then, with 10:58 gone in the period, Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal committed a costly penalty, leaving the Hurricanes with four men on the ice and needing to kill a penalty to keep their one-goal lead. 

Carolina had great pressure on the Rangers at first, but the Blueshirts picked up the pace once they got settled in the zone. Vincente Trocheck sweeped a pass over to Artemi Panarin, who took a shot intended for Kreider to tip it into the net. 

Mission accomplished.

The Rangers rejoiced as the game was tied at three goals a piece, and there was a chance they could complete the comeback to move on in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

With all the momentum on their side, the Rangers had a fantastic forecheck with just under five minutes to play in the period. After a couple of shots couldn’t find the back of the net, Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren retrieved the puck, skated behind the net, and who but Kreider was in the perfect position for a quick pass in front. 

He wasted no time slapping it right past Anderson, and the Canes faithful were completely stunned as the Rangers celebrated the hat trick for their assistant captain. 

They knew, however, the job wasn’t finished. There was a ton of time left on the clock, and with 2:48 remaining, head coach Rod Brind’Amour decided to pull the goalie, giving the Canes an extra man on the ice. 

Artemi Panarin celebrates goal

And boy, did the Hurricanes ever have a chance to put energy back in the building when Andrei Svechnikov saw a pinballing puck bounce right in front of him with only the Rangers’ goaltender Igor Shesterskin to beat. 

Shesterskin, who had 33 saves on the night, made his most important one when he shot his right leg out to deflect Svechnikov’s quick wrister to keep New York’s lead intact. 

After multiple icings, assistant captain Barclay Goodrow was finally able to chuck the puck down the ice and into the empty net to call game with 48 seconds left to play. 

The Hurricanes certainly went out swinging, but the Rangers saw one of their most trusted players for over a decade answer the call to action. 

Chris Kreider celebrates goal

Now, New York will head home and certainly turn on their TVs to watch Friday night’s Game 6 matchup between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins, as one of those teams will be their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals. Florida currently leads the series, 3-2. 

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