Not kidding around: Rangers’ Kid Line shines in Game 1 victory over Tampa

Rangers Kid Line center Filip Chytil celebrates after scoring a goal.
Kid Line center Filip Chytil celebrates after scoring a goal.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Filip Chytil’s 2 goals led the Rangers “Kid Line” as they put on yet-another stellar performance on Wednesday to propel the Blue Shirts in their lopsided 6–2 win over the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Nicknamed for their young ages, the trio — made up of 22-year-old Chytil, 20-year-old Alexis Lafrenière and 21-year-old Kaapo Kakko — accounted for 5 total points, including 3 assists in the victorious contest.

“They got inside, they scored some nice goals, they made some good plays, and they’re attacking,” said head coach Gerard Gallant. “They’re a confident bunch of kids right now, and we need that to continue.” 

Chytil, the line’s center, scored the team’s 3rd goal of the game to take the lead 3–2 just over 10 minutes into the 2nd period with assists from both his Kid Line partners, before tacking on another score 5:34 later to put the team up by 2 on a one-timer from K’Andre Miller. Lafreniere recorded the secondary assist on that shot. 

The Kid Line shift when Chytil scored his 2nd goal saw the Blue Shirts keep the puck in Tampa Bay’s zone for over a minute straight, while recording 6 shots on goal before finding the back of the net — despite the defending champion Lightning being notorious for controlling the puck and the flow of the game.  

“I’m really happy with how we grow every game,” said Chytil before the game. “It’s the first playoffs for all 3 of us, so we’re just playing hard, playing for our team. We’ve scored some important goals, so it’s a great experience for all 3 of us.”

“Fil’s a good kid,” said Gallant. “He works hard, he competes hard, and he deserves what he’s getting right now — he stepped his game up, and he knows it, everybody knows it. That’s exactly what we need from him.” 

For more coverage of the Rangers’ Kid Line, head to amNY.com.

Following the game, Chytil said that his early-season frustrations, when he went long stretches with few points, forced him to work harder on his game — and it’s clicking at the exact right moment for the team looking to punch a ticket to the Stanley Cup.  

“I was working hard all season. There were tough moments, and so many chances when I couldn’t put the puck in the net,” said Chytil. “Now, it’s finally going in, and I am so happy that I can help the team win games.”

Gallant highlighted Chytil’s hard work for his recent blossoming, and said it was reflected in his confidence level. 

“He’s growing up to be a man,” the coach said of his 22-year-old player. “He’s really stepping it up. Every time you watch him go out there and play, he’s more confident.”

Kid Line center Filip Chytil celebrates a goal.
Filip Chytil celebrates a goal.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Combined, the Kid Line now accounts for 21 points throughout the first 15 playoff games, led by Lafreniere’s 9 and Chytil’s 8 — including 4 points in Sunday’s clinching Game 7 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Beyond stuffing the stat sheet, the trio has also provided a hyper-athletic spark on their 3rd line, and has consistently reinvigorated the team’s offense whenever they’ve struggled through these playoffs. 

“That whole line has been playing together well, and I’m really impressed,” said Mike Zinbanejad. “We need everyone, and they’ve been coming up big for us.”

As for lovingly being called the Kid Line, though, Chytil shrugged it off with a less-than-ringing endorsement. 

“I don’t mind it,” he said. “It is what it is.”

The Rangers will stay in New York to face off against the Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.