Chris Kreider nets hat trick as Rangers win in Tortorella’s return

Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider celebrates his first career hat trick.
Credit: Getty Images

John Tortorella was coaching against his former team for the first time in the building he called home for five years, but to hear Dan Girardi tell it, there was not a sense of added satisfaction in beating Tortorella.

Rather, what pleased the Rangers was what the victory meant for head coach Alain Vigneault, who, like Tortorella, was coaching his first regular season game against his former employer.

“I think it’s more winning it for A.V.,” Dan Girardi said after the Rangers 5-2 rout of the Canucks Saturday afternoon at the Garden. “He’s our coach and it doesn’t matter who’s behind their team. When you’re a coach and you coach [against] your former team … he wanted us to play [well] for him. Vancouver, in preseason, we didn’t have a great game there and we were a little disappointed we couldn’t come up with a better effort. We wanted to play hard for him tonight and got the win.”

Chris Kreider recorded his first NHL hat trick, and Rick Nash and Michael Del Zotto added a goal apiece. Ten Rangers recorded at least one point, led by Kreider and Nash (a goal and two assists) who had three points each.

Cam Talbot made 35 saves. His lone mistakes were David Booth’s goal 15:50 into the second, which cut the Rangers lead to 4-1, and Daniel Sedin’s power-play goal with 2:35 left.

“I try to play as positional as possible,” said Talbot, who improved to 6-1 this season. “Try to cut down the angles, try to flip to the corner for the most part. I think I did leave a few out there in the middle of the ice and the guys did a great job backchecking, clearing those out and taking away [Vancouver’s] second chances. The guys did a great job in front of me today and I try to help them out whenever I can.”

The much-anticipated matchup was, for all intents and purposes, decided 17 seconds into the third period when Nash redirected Derek Stepan’s wrist shot under Roberto Luongo’s legs to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

After Nash’s goal, his fourth of the season and his third in three games, Tortorella pulled Luongo for Eddie Lack. Luongo finished with seven saves on 10 shots. The goaltending change did not do much of anything as the Rangers perforated Lack for two goals on 14 shots.

“I’m certainly not putting it on Louie,” Tortorella said of the goaltending switch. “The onus is on all of us here to try and gain some traction, so everyone has to give some skin.”

The irony, of course, is that one of the significant reasons the Rangers left The Tortscoming with two points is that a player whom Tortorella was uncertain about last season played the dominant, power forward game the organization fervently believes he can.

Kreider scored the game’s first two goals against Luongo in a span of 3:17 of the first period and his hat trick-completing marker against Lack extended the lead to 5-1, while skating on a reconstructed top line with Nash and Stepan. The line finished with four goals, four assists, eight points and a collective plus-9rating.

“I struggled trusting me, too,” Kreider said of Tortorella’s mistrust of his game in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. “There’s no hard feelings. I learned a lot from him and, obviously his assistant coaches.”

Kreider was sent down to AHL Connecticut three times last season in order to work on his game. Still, the left wing viewed his relationship with Tortorella as “a pretty positive one; he communicated what he wanted from me, what he expected from me, worked closely with me and helped me get better as a player.”

“It was a really good learning experience.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Jasper Johns aide admits stealing, selling artwork for…

By Joseph AxNEW YORK (Reuters) - A former assistant to renowned American contemporary artist Jasper Johns pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling nearly two dozen…

National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…