Rangers: What will Filip Chytil’s return to the lineup mean for Matt Rempe going forward?

New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) warms up before a game against the Winnipeg Jets  at Canada Life Centre
James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers star center Filip Chytil made his return to the lineup in their 3-2 Game 3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Rangers: Filip Chytil gave head coach Peter Laviolette good minutes in playoff return

New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden
Sep 24, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Chytil played 12:02 minutes on the ice and took one shot on goal. He received a healthy workload from Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette after missing the last six months with a concussion.

The Czech star replaced a healthy-scratch Matt Rempe in the lineup. He was able to attack and try to find the back of the net, but his sudden insertion into the rotation over Rempe came as somewhat of a surprise.

Rangers: What Chytil’s return will mean for Matt Rempe moving forward

New York Rangers center Matt Rempe (73) looks at the scoreboard after scoring a goal in the second period against the Washington Capitals in game one of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Rempe was instrumental in the Rangers sweeping the Washington Capitals in the first round and also taking a 2-0 lead over the Hurricanes in this Eastern Conference Semifinals series before going up 3-0 on Thursday. The Rangers have gone 20-2-1 with the 21-year-old in the lineup this year, regular season and playoffs included.

Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette had this to say ahead of Game 3 about the lineup he’d field amid Rempe sitting for the entire third period and overtime over their Game 2 win over Carolina, as Antonio Losada of Heavy Sports relayed:

“I’m making sure that we’re going into Carolina with a lineup that we want,” Laviolette told reporters on May 8. “I understand the question.

“I feel [shortening the rotation] happens all the time in playoffs when you come down to it. Regardless of minutes, it’s about winning that hockey game.”

LaViolette made the call he felt was best, and it did not compromise the Rangers in the win column.

Chytil’s playoff history suggests that he and Rempe could share time the rest of the way

All things considered, Chytil has only played 18 or more minutes in one of his 31 career playoff appearances. Therefore, it is likely that LaViolette will not only bring his center back steadily but will also leave the door open for his enforcer Rempe to get time again despite being sidelined.

New York is 4-4 with Chytil active over their last eight playoff games dating back to last season. They’ll look to make it 5-4 in what they hope will be a second-round sweep over the Hurricanes on Saturday night.

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