Rangers get Chytil back in lineup for Game 3 against Hurricanes after lengthy absence

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The New York Rangers got a boost Thursday night with the return of forward Filip Chytil during an overtime playoff victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 24-year-old Chytil saw his first action since November and coming more than three months after he was ruled out for the season due to a head injury. He ended up seeing 12:02 of ice time and skating 17 shifts in the 3-2 win that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the second-round playoff series.

Coach Peter Laviolette said Chytil had been ramping up his activity for the past month to increase the chances he could play again.

“He’s been attacking every day to get to that point,” Laviolette said, saying he felt the one-day-off window between Games 2 and 3 created “a perfect opportunity” for him to return.

“Kind of like our game tonight, I thought he got better and better as the game went on,” Laviolette said. “I mean, you wouldn’t have known he was off for however long it was, five months or six months.”

Chytil’s return meant 6-foot-8 rookie Matt Rempe was a healthy scratch.

The 24-year-old Chytil played just 10 regular-season games before facing suspected concussion issues that led him to go home to his native Czechia to skate with Jaromir Jagr, among others, in an attempt to get back.

Chytil hadn’t played since a 2-1 win against Carolina on Nov. 2. He had returned to skating with the team before exiting a morning practice in January with what Laviolette called a setback, and the team announced he would miss the rest of the season two days later.

“Obviously, kind of a long, frustrating road for him,” forward Chris Kreider said. “So it’s been amazing having him around and then to have him come in, buzzing around out there and having a positive impact. Yeah, it’s awesome.”


AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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