Filip Chytil stays hot as Rangers top Flames in OT thriller


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The sprint to the playoffs is on, and the Rangers hit the ground running. 

After a thrilling, back-and-forth 60 minutes that featured some old-time hockey, Alexis Lafreniere scored 1:37 into overtime to secure a 5-4 Rangers win over the Flames on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. 

The Flames managed to respond to each Rangers goal to keep up throughout the contest until they grabbed their first lead of the night behind two goals in the third period. Andrew Mangiapane scored while crashing the net to make it a 3-3 game, but Rangers goalie Jaroslav Halak immediately went to the refs to call out the Flames forward for kicking the puck in. 

The play went under review and was ultimately deemed a good goal by the NHL’s situation room in Toronto. 

Just over two minutes later, Calgary defenseman Michael Stone blasted one past Halak off a drop-back pass to put his team up by one. This time, however, the Rangers had an answer. Mika Zibanejad put away a feed from behind the Flames’ net from Artemi Panarin to knot the score at 4-4 with 7:05 left in regulation. 

The Blueshirt faithful who fill the seats at the Garden have a short list of players whose names they chant on a regular basis, but on Monday night, a new name reverberated throughout the concourses. 

Filip Chytil gave Rangers fans plenty to cheer about on Monday night.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post


Filip Chytil picked up right where he left off before the All-Star break, extending his scoring streak to four games with goals Nos. 17 and 18. The impending restricted free agent’s price tag just keeps on going up as he continues to morph into an everyday impact player. 

Taking a pass off the boards from Kaapo Kakko in the first period, Chytil sniped the puck past Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom for his 13th point in the last 12 games and put the Rangers up 1-0. Kakko’s assist also established a new career high in points (24) for the Finnish winger, who now has nine goals and 15 assists in 50 games. 

New York Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak #41 makes a save during the second period.
Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak makes a save during the second period.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Chytil regained the lead for the Rangers early in the second period, when the Czech center intercepted a pass and buried the puck on a breakaway in a seemingly effortless sequence to secure his third multi-goal game of the season. That’s when the crowd began chanting his name. 

It was an eventful game from start to finish despite both teams coming off a long layoff. The Rangers dialed up the physicality right off the bat, landing a few massive open-ice hits and working for possession in the corners and along the boards. Calgary took exception to the clean hits and the players voiced their concerns with their fists. 

After Chytil and Blake Coleman traded goals for their respective teams in the opening frame, Rangers captain Jacob Trouba upended the Flames’ Dillon Dube before Chris Tanev jumped in to stand up for his teammate. The two No. 8’s exchanged a couple of blows until they were separated by the refs. 

Calgary Flames center Dillon Dube #29 gets into a scuffle with New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba #8 after Trouba checks Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri #91 knocking him to the ice during the second period.
Jacob Trouba’s big hit on Nazem Kadri drew Dillon Dube’s ire.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Sammy Blais, skating in his first game after a two-week conditioning assignment at AHL Hartford, later checked Milan Lucic to the visitors’ displeasure. Suddenly, multiple gloves were scattered everywhere as everybody joined in on the brouhaha at center ice. 

The Rangers came away with power plays from both sequences, but they were unable to capitalize with the man-advantage until the tail end of the second period. Trouba landed another thunderous hit and knocked Nazem Kadri’s helmet off, for which No. 8 got back on his skates and prepared himself for retaliation. 

Dube came to Kadri’s defense and in turn was hit with an instigator penalty to put the Rangers back on the power play. Zibanejad whacked home an absurd turnaround, no-look feed from Chris Kreider to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. 

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