There’s a saying, “you always want to finish strong.” Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, they didn’t achieve that in their final home game of the season.
In the Rangers 7-3 loss to the Lightning Friday night at The Garden, 2017 first-round draft pick, Filip Chytil tallied his first career goal. It was the payoff to a long night — and season — of hard work.
In 14:45 of ice time, Chytil took 20 shifts and had the strongest game of his young NHL career.
Throughout the night Filip was a force on the ice and he came close to scoring several times; before eventually potting his goal.
BREAKDOWN OF FILIP CHYTIL’S PERFORMANCE
1. FIRST PERIOD
In the opening frame, Chytil saw a modest 4:49 of ice time and won three face-offs. Filip was buzzing around Tampa’s net and had a number of opportunities to make a play only to see the puck either go wide of the net, or for a Lightning defender to knock the disc away.
2. SECOND PERIOD
The second period was one of Chytil’s best since being recalled. Filip increased his ice time so that he had a healthy 10 minutes and two seconds through two periods. And he won 71 percent of his face-offs. Playing alongside Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello has provided Chytil with the foundation necessary to acclimate to the NHL as quickly as possible.
“We were doing some things well,” said Chris Kreider. “It’s a good experience, obviously we have a young group that will hopefully learn from it and grow.”
3. THIRD PERIOD
The wait is finally over. With 8:14 gone in the third period, Filip entered the record books. The rookie center, who had been swarming the net all night, saw something that made his eyes light up like a Christmas tree. Louis Domingue was a hair too far out of his net and couldn’t control the puck. So, without thinking, Chytil swooped in and buried the puck for his first NHL goal.
“Zuccy (Mats Zuccarello) shoots and it was a rebound and empty net,” said Filip. “I’m so excited I scored my first goal; finally.”
Filip Chytil speaks with John Giannone after scoring his first NHL goal in the Rangers' 7-3 loss to the Lightning.
Head coach Alain Vigneault added, “I thought Filip had a good game. He showed some real good speed, he had a couple good looks, got his first NHL goal. From an individual standpoint, that was a good step today.”
“He is more confident than the first two games,” said Mika Zibanejad. “(Filip) He is skating well with the puck and doing a lot of good things out there. I am trying to help him as much as I can and the other guys are as well. It’s fun to see.”