NEW YORK -- Chris Kreider made his much-anticipated return to the New York Rangers' lineup in the team's 4-2 loss in Game 4 of its second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The 23-year-old winger, who missed 19 straight games with a fractured left hand, showed some good glimpses of the speed and burst that were lacking from the Rangers' offensive attack, but he certainly showed some ill-effects of the layoff as well.
"I felt a little rusty at times, but at the same time, I felt like I did some good things, too," Kreider said after the game.
Kreider also took an unwise high-sticking penalty in the third period that sent him to the box at 10:46. He finished with a minus-1 rating, one shot, two hits and two giveaways in 15:24 of ice time.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, who entered Wednesday's action without a goal in back-to-back games against the Penguins and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Kreider's addition wasn't enough to combat yet another dominant effort from Pittsburgh.
His second game back will come in Friday's Game 5 as the Rangers try to avoid elimination. They currently trail Pittsburgh 3-1 in the series. There will be little time for Kreider to get his legs back under him or to fully regain his timing.
"Win the next game; it's not over," Kreider said of the team's mindset following Game 4's defeat. "We've known of a couple series this year and past seasons where teams have been able to come back from this kind of deficit, and I think we know the way we want to play and we know what we have in the room. It's kind of a gut check, and we'll put our best foot forward."