Chris Kreider returns for Rangers

Updated: May 8, 2014, 2:35 AM ET
By Katie Strang |

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.

Scott Levy/Getty ImagesChris Kreider returned in the Rangers' loss Wednesday night after missing the previous 19 games.

Although he provided linemates Rick Nash and Derek Stepan with some jump, he appeared to have some trouble with his stick-handling and seemed hindered at times when receiving a pass.

"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."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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