Recap: Chytil Can’t Do It Alone, Rangers Fall to Leafs 3-2 (OT)

But danggit he tried.

The Rangers faced off against the Maple Leafs Wednesday night in Toronto. Local kid and 2020 second round pick Will Cuylle made his NHL debut for the Rangers.

When he imagined making his debut, he probably didn’t anticipate being on ice for a goal against his first shift, but that’s just what happened. A complete collapse of the Ranger’s defensive structure allowed Toronto to rush up ice, resulting in Pontus Holmberg getting a step on Ben Harpur and beating Igor Shesterkin for an early goal. Neither team scored again for the rest of the period, though each team had a couple chances.

The Rangers tied the game early in the second, when Filip Chytil did his best Mario Lemieux impression off the faceoff, shooting the puck cleanly past a snoozing Ilya Samsonov. Who does that anymore?

Four minutes and twenty seconds later, Chytil netted his second of the game to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Each player on the Kids Line contributed– Kaapo Kakko created the turnover and notched the primary assist, Alexis Lafrenière used his body to shield the puck, and Chytil took care of the finish. The goal was Chytil’s fifteenth of the season, representing a new career high. He’s notched 11 points over his past 10 games.

He nearly completed the natural second period hatty when Vincent Trocheck sprung him from the penalty box. Chytil missed the initial pass but chased the puck down and ended up hitting the post from in tight.

For a while, the 2-1 lead stood, but in the final five minutes of the third, the Maple Leafs started ratcheting up the pressure. Shesterkin made some key saves as Toronto overloaded the ice time of their best players, but eventually it was Timothy Liljegren who scored the game-tying goal. The defender followed up a John Taveres tip and made the most of the second-chance opportunity. The Leafs nearly won the game in the final seconds when Tavares wristed a laser off the crossbar, but instead they headed to overtime.

That overtime lasted all of 19 seconds, as Mitch Marner danced his way past all three Rangers before sliding the puck into the net as he fell down. That Marner. Pretty good at hockey.

This was an odd outing for the Rangers. They acquitted themselves decently five-on-five, though the Leafs swallowed them up in the minutes before tying the game.  The Kids Line was excellent, and Chytil in particular was flying. The rest of the team’s offense was kept bottled up for the most part, and the powerplay failed to produce.

The Rangers will take on Brett Howden and the Vegas Golden Knights Friday at 7:00.

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