It has certainly been a tumultuous two-plus weeks for the New York Rangers. The chaos of the trade deadline led directly into a three-game stretch which has seen the Blueshirts take five of a possible six points without holding the lead in any of the games. Despite the lackluster play in all three zones, we must take the small sample size with a grain of salt, as there have been several moving parts since the deadline.
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Head coach Gerard Gallant has continuously shuffled around line combinations, hoping to generate a spark and some chemistry with his forward groupings. The third period of Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins was the best the Rangers’ forwards have looked in quite some time. Gallant rolled out:
Artemi Panarin – Mika Zibanejad – Vladimir Tarasenko
Chris Kreider – Vincent Trocheck – Patrick Kane
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Tyler Motte – Barclay Goodrow – Jimmy Vesey
For the new guys, this lineup seemed to click beautifully. But, as much as the Rangers need the top-six to get going, the Rangers’ third line, the “Kids Line”, has to get back on the scoresheet. Filip Chytil, who was hotter than any goal scorer in the NHL not too long ago, has been silent. And for the Rangers to be the deep forward group we have heralded them to be, he has to regain that scoring touch.
Chytil’s Gone From Fire to Ice
Miraculously, it has been over a month since Chytil’s last goal, which came on Feb. 8 against the Vancouver Canucks. That goal was his 19th of the season, and at the time, his seventh over a five-game span. Now, he is mired in a 15-game goal drought, registering five points over that time frame.
The Rangers are a much more dangerous team when the kids are playing well. Yet, they all seem to go cold at the exact same time. Alexis Lafreniere has played some of his best hockey lately, but his two counterparts on that line have been struggling. Kaapo Kakko is caught up in a seven-game goal drought and has just one goal over the past 13 games.
Related: Rangers Relying on Trocheck to Get Most Out of Kane & Panarin
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Chytil is the catalyst of the Kids Line. His speed off the rush and on the forecheck create chances, and when he has the space, his release and shot are lethal. He has had glorious chances to score over this stretch but has been severely snakebitten.
With Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko adjusting to the…
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