- Last Updated: 11:03 AM, May 21, 2012
- Posted: 12:32 AM, May 21, 2012
Chris Kreider keeps finding ways to put the puck in the net, like he did Saturday when he deflected the puck past Martin Brodeur in the third period to help the Rangers to a 3-0 win.
But Kreider is still a rookie — a rookie who has never played in a regular season game — and Rangers coach John Tortorella said he has tried not to overload Kreider’s thoughts with too many instructions.
“He’s instinctive,” Tortorella said. “The puck follows him. I think his legs get him where he wants to be, as far as getting to pucks, and we’re not doing a lot of teaching and a lot of structure with him ... it’s just the wrong time.
“There’s enough things going through his head where we just want him to play ... but this is instinctive. He’s an instinctive player. We’re just trying to let him go.”
Kreider has five goals in these playoffs, good for second on the Rangers behind Brad Richards.
* With Brandon Prust now out for Game 4 due to his one-game suspension for his elbow on Anton Volchenkov, Tortorella now has a decision to make about whom to replace him with. One possible option could be Brandon Dubinsky, who skated with his teammates yesterday for the second time in three days.
Dubinsky hasn’t played since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarerfinals against Ottawa, when he suffered a right foot injury. But don’t ask Dubinsky when he’ll be ready to rejoin the lineup.
“I’m going to follow [Tortorella’s] rules again,” he said. “No timeline.”
If Dubinsky isn’t able to go tonight, Tortorella will likely turn to one of his extra defensemen to play at forward in Prust’s place, a tactic he’s already employed in these playoffs.
* The Rangers aren’t the only ones changing up their lines for tonight’s game. After putting Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk together the last two games, Devils coach Pete DeBoer has split them up again ahead of tonight’s game.
During yesterday’s practice, Travis Zajac centered Parise and Dainius Zubrus on the top line, while Adam Henrique, Patrik Elias and Kovalchuk skated on the second line.
In addition, Jacob Josefson, who has been out since April 3 with a fractured left wrist, skated between Alex Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson. The 21-year-old, who was a 2009 first-round pick, will replace Petr Sykora in the lineup.
“He finished the season very strong,” DeBoer said of Josefson. “The last three, four weeks of the season he was great ... he’s been an effective guy for us, and we missed him while he was out.”Follow @NYPostsports