Filip Chytil played his first game since breaking a hand in Pittsburgh on January 24th, and although the 21-year-old center had its moments in the Rangers 3-2 win over the Sabers at the Garden on Tuesday night, mostly the time what it looked like.
« Fil always gives you moments where he jumps off the side because he’s so fast, but he only did two real exercises with the team and has been gone a long time, » said Coach David Quinn. « We were just hoping he’d survived healthy.
» He gave us a bit of speed and a bit of jolt, but he’ll surely find his game and it may take a while to get back where he is he quit. «
Chytil, who missed 14 games, played 4:08 pm with Kevin Rooney and Julien Gauthier. One of the main reasons Rooney, a natural center, moved to the flank of this unit was because he could faceoffs. Of course, Rooney, the team leader for the points, which came into play with 47.9 percent, went 0-7 in the event of a tie in this game.
Igor Shesterkin, whose team led 3-2 with 52 seconds remaining, and his net was empty at the other end of the ice after Carter Hutton was pulled for the additional attacker shot at the giveaway by launching the puck out of the zone. Unfortunately, it was knocked down in the neutral zone. A few more tries were shorted out before the goalkeeper could fire his shot. « I ran back and yelled, » Just do it, « said Adam Fox, who had two assists at 11:47 pm. » If he puck I feel just as confident when I play puck as I do when I play puck.
« You know, he’s really good, really strong on his stick, even though he didn’t make it that far, but he got it out and that is enough if they have to try regrouping in the neutral zone.
Kaapo Kakko missed his fifth game in a row since being put on the COVID log list on January 20th, despite being taken off the List has been deleted.
« Kaapo will start the Return to Play protocol, » said Quinn. « We’ll just see how it goes. »
He is unlikely to be able to play in the first of two games in New Jersey on Thursday. Saturday is a goal for Kakko, who had five points with no point and only one point (0-1) in his last 10 games despite playing a solid hockey brand.
Quinn said he had a daily contract with Artemi Panarin, who missed his fourth game since taking a vacation in Russia after Andrei Nazarov’s unsubstantiated charges against him.
« I speak to Bread every day and he did a bit of ice-skating, » said Quinn. « Again, we’re just waiting every day for the right time for him to come back. »
Jacob Trouba, who recovered for four to six weeks after losing to the Devils on February 16, has skated regularly.
« He’s making a lot of good progress, » said Quinn. « We expect him back sooner rather than later. »
Chris Kreider’s goal was his team-leading 10th of the season and sixth in the last five games. The Rangers held the Sabers to five shots in the third period and 24 for the match, while amassing a season low of 19 shots themselves after paving just 21 shots against Boston on Sunday. … The game contained only 44 faceoffs in total. … The Blueshirts, 8-9-3, embark on a six-game road trip that opens with the Devils. The Rangers will then have a pair in Pittsburgh before two in Boston.
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