It's been nearly a month-long scoring drought for Chris Kreider.
But the Rangers assistant captain has a reason behind his production issues. On Monday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported Kreider has been has been hampered by a balky hamstring since Feb. 27, when the injury occurred during the Blueshirts' game against Tampa Bay.
"You're going to have dips in your game," Kreider told the Post. "The season is just so long. But you have to learn how to approach them, deal with them, separate the good from the bad and put everything in perspective. And you learn as you go along. I know I learned from watching and talking to Rick Nash when he went through lulls, and his message was to simplify things and get back to the basics."
Kreider has not scored in his last 10 games and has put the puck in the net twice since Feb. 6.
Rangers coach David Quinn also acknowledged his winger has been dealing with an ailment.
"He's done everything he can and I give him a lot of credit," Quinn told the Post. "For a guy who depends on his legs so much, I thought he did a real good job fighting through that lower-body injury and did everything he [could]."
Kreider's scoring troubles have only reared their head recently. Prior to then, he was enjoying a productive campaign -- his 26 goals are two off his career high of 28, which he achieved in 2016-17. Kreider needs four more points to tie his personal best in that category (53).
Lately, Kreider said, the hamstring has improved and he believes it's showed on the ice.
"I've definitely felt better and I think I was able to have an impact by getting in on the puck and creating turnovers," he told the Post. "I've felt more like myself, so when I think of these final three weeks coming up, I feel good about it."
The Rangers will have a decision to make soon regarding Kreider, who will enter the final year of his contract after this season ends. His base salary is $4 million for next season, with no bonuses attached.
The team could decide to extend Kreider, who will turn 28 next month, or trade him prior to the NHL Draft in June, Brooks reported. The Rangers have been active in dealing their veteran players for prospects and picks, so it's possible he's nearing the end of his time at the Garden.
However, Kreider can prove over the final weeks of the season that, with a healthy hamstring, he's worthy of an extension and can serve well as a veteran on a younger roster going forward.