New York Rangers forward Will Cuylle has shown why he is an asset on the ice and a perfect fit on the Blueshirts roster.
Coming off a five-game road winning streak, the Rangers found themselves in a 1-1 game late in the third period, looking to see who would step up to extend their winning streak.
21-year-old Cuylle would be the next Ranger to step up. The rookie entered the Hurricane’s zone and saw defenseman Jacob Trouba pinch in at the top of the blueline, continuing to push the puck down the sideboards.
Cuylle watched the play as he snuck into a lane in the low slot, took a perfect pass from the Rangers’ captain, and buried the game-winner, giving the rookie his second goal of the season.
“I saw him pinch down the wall and get the puck, and I saw a little lane and tried to sprint to the back post,” Cuylle said. “He made a great pass to find me. I was pretty excited. First goal at MSG, and it was a big one.”NHL.com
When training camp began in September, all the talk was about Brendan Othmann and a possible opening night roster spot. Instead, Cuylle impressed the coaching staff and earned an opening night spot in the lineup when the team played the Buffalo Sabres. He hasn’t looked back since playing on the third line with Vincent Trocheck and Blake Wheeler.
Rangers Head Coach Peter Laviolette Continues to Have High Praise
Peter Laviolette likes what he sees from Cuylle early on in the season.
“He’s been, you know, been really good. Even going back to exhibition when he first came in here, he was a noticeable player with his speed and his physicality.” Laviolette went on to say, “I know that he was a capable goal scorer last year for Hartford, and he came in, and you watch them in games, and the chances he gets in practice and the way he can finish is there’s definitely a potential for him to score goals and create up here as well. Obviously, a big goal for him; got a big goal at the right time, and the third period gets us a win and two points.”
This squad has been looking for more goals while playing five-on-five, primarily from the top two lines. Yet, as was the case last season, the third line on any team can be the difference maker in games.
Thursday night was an ideal example of this. In a tied game late in the third period, a coach is fearless in putting the fourth line out with a mixture of veterans and a confident rookie.
The Blueshirts needed to dig deep to find a way to win a game that many felt was considered a “trap’ game coming off their Canadian road trip.
The confidence Lavioltete has in Cuylle has now spread among his linemates and teammates. His speed, size, and physicality, along with his hockey smarts, will continue to make him a dangerous player for the opponent to play against.
The Rangers won last night’s game but suffered two major injuries along the way.
Adam Fox was injured in the first period, he played one more shift after the injury but was ruled out for the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.
Filip Chytil was injured late in the second period and also did not return to the game. The team listed his injury as an upper-body injury.
Laviolette said both players would be evaluated today and had no further updates.
Follow Frank on X at @RangerProud.