The New York Rangers have won seven straight hockey games and are now in the thick of the race for the top of the Metropolitan division. But just when the Rangers appear to be turning a corner as the top team in the Eastern Conference, one injury can potentially bring them back down to earth.
Filip Chytil has been a part of the kid line that has produced over 10 points in the last three games. In Sunday’s 7-1 over Chicago, the former first-round pick tallied a goal and an assist as the Rangers rolled. But he left shortly after. In the second period, Chytil took a massive hit from Blackhawks’ Sam Lafferty when he didn’t have the puck and wasn’t in the play.
Outside of the outrage that can be brought up from a hit like that, the Rangers are now in a dangerous predicament. Their seven-game winning streak has come against some of the league’s best in New Jersey, Colorado, and Vegas.
But Pittsburgh, Washington, Tampa Bay, and the Islanders all await the Blueshirts towards the end of the holiday month. Losing Chytil to an upper-body injury means one of your fastest skaters and best offensive players won’t be on the ice for another division gauntlet.
Head coach Gerard Gallant called Chytil “day-to-day”, however past injuries have become a concern for the second-line center.
Chytil took an elbow to the head from behind from Blue Jackets forward Cole Sillinger back in October that cost him six games. Earlier this month, Chytil sat out of two games with a minor lower-body injury, as well.
In short, the Rangers need Filip Chytil healthy. He completes the kid line perfectly, and it’s made New York a top team again in their respective division and conference. Without him, Vincent Trocheck and Barclay Goodrow should expect more ice time at center while Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere will need to adjust their game to a different linemate.
Injuries like the one he suffered on Sunday night aren’t usually something you can work on. A fine could very well be waiting for Lafferty in a few days. But the longer that Chytil is out, the more difficult it will be for the Rangers to stay to their winning ways.