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Recap: Rangers Best Flames in a Burner, 5-4 (OT)

Wowee, what a game.

NHL: Calgary Flames at New York Rangers Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

After their bye-week and the All-Star break, the Rangers resumed their season when they hosted the Calgary Flames Monday night, and what a game it was.

Filip Chytil picked up right where he left off, opening the scoring in the first. He received a pass off the boards from Kaapo Kakko, and beat Jacob Markstrom with an incredibly quick, Gaborik-esque release on the rush. Chytil’s breakout is one of my favorite things about this year’s team. Love it love it.

Blake Coleman tied the game later in the period. Andrew Mangiapane rode Ryan Lindgren toward the net and managed a floppy center in the general direction of the crease. Adam Fox, perhaps still recovering from his weekend bender the All-Star weekend, failed to clear, allowing Coleman to clean it up for a goal.

The game got pretty dang heated from there. Jacob Trouba laid a big, clean hit on Dillon Dube, and was immediately challenged by Chris Tanev, who literally just returned to the lineup after injury. Smart. Later, Sammy Blais did the same to Milan Lucic, leading everybody to fight everybody. Though they initially pegged Blais for a major, the refs reviewed the play for a very long time and determined the hit was clean. Somehow the Rangers came out with a powerplay that they failed to convert.

Early in the second, Chytil was at it again. He capitalized on a Calgary offensive-zone turnover and was off the races, finessing the puck through Markstrom’s five-hole on another quick release. Apparently I am not alone in the Filip Chytil Appreciation Club, as the Garden faithful chanted the young forward’s name. A very cool and well-deserved moment for Chytil.

Calgary responded by hitting the twice in quick succession, leaving them a crossbar away from winning a game of Posts. Late in the period, the Rangers took the dreaded Too Many Men minor, and the Flames tied the game on the ensuing powerplay. Tyler Toffoli ripped a wrister off the post and on a shot Halak never saw.

In the final minute of the second, Trouba continued throwing his weight around, this time burying Nazem Kadri in the Rangers zone. It was another legal hit that drew a fight, this time Dube stepping up and earning an instigator-10-minute-misconduct package deal. The Rangers made quick work of the Flames on the powerplay. Chris Kreider set up Mika Zibanejad with a slick pass from the doorstep, and Mika had the whole net to put it home. Thanks to the physical play of Trouba and the Flames taking stupid penalties in response, the Rangers led 3-2 going into the third.

That score would stand until halfway through the third, when Calgary scored two quick goals in succession to steak their first lead of the game. The first was scored by the skate of Mangiapane. After a video review, it was determined that he did not kick the puck, and it did indeed appear that the motion was somewhere in that gray area between redirect and kick. Defender Michael Stone followed it up with a slapshot that might have been competitive in the Hardest Shot Competition.

Minutes later, the Rangers tied it up when Artemi Panarin set up Zibanejad for his second goal of the night. I honestly don’t know how the Flames left Zib that open that close, but they paid for it.

n the waning seconds of the third, Chytil had a chance for a game-winning, hat-trick clinching goal, but deferred with a pass to Kreider. The poor, sweet fool.

And so, with the score knotted at four, we headed to overtime. Chytil nearly won it again early, but instead it was his linemate Alexis Lafrenière who would net the overtime winner. After Calgary turned over the puck in the Rangers’ zone, Lafrenière was off to the races. He set up Zibanejad, who unleashed a wicked one-timer. Markstrom made a great save but put himself out of position to do so. Laf stuck with the play and his shot got through the hapless Calgary defenders, giving the Rangers a 5-4 victory.

his game had everything! Goals! Saves! Hits! Fights, if you like that. Despite being the first game back and against a non-rival, the game was intense and felt playoff-esque. Love everything Chytil is doing, Zib keeps producing, and hopefully the game-winner for Laf will give him some swagger and confidence.

The Rangers will take on JT Miller and the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night.