Jacob Trouba was back, unleashing massive hits and winning the match. During the second period of New York’s 5-4 overtime triumph at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, the Rangers captain delivered a big, helmet-launching hit on the Flames’ Nazem Kadri. With the Calgary center on the ice near the Rangers’ net, Dillon Dube sought to make Trouba pay for the hit, resulting in a fight.
It didn’t turn out to be the ideal choice for Dube. Trouba threw four or five punches and forced Dube to the ground with the score tied at two after an early – and brief – standstill. Trouba, 28, has established himself as one of the NHL’s most infamous hits.
Last season, he delivered one to Blackhawks player Jujhar Khaira, who was stretchered off the ice and sent to the hospital. Trouba texted him after the hit, which some thought was borderline nasty, and the two put it behind them at training camp this season.
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Chants of “Chy-til! Chy-til!” showered down on Broadway for the first time in his five-year career.
It was a weird moment for the 23-year-old center, who scored twice in Monday’s 5-4 overtime triumph over the Calgary Flames. But he didn’t let himself enjoy it for long.
During the nine-day bye week, the red-hot Czech didn’t cool off at all. Instead, he resumed from where he had left off. His first goal was a fast wrist shot set up by a feed off the boards from Kaapo Kakko, and his second came after intercepting a pass and creating his own breakaway.
Chytil has six goals in his past four games and a career-high 18 for the season, putting him on track to break the 30-goal mark. Despite such valiant attempts, Lafrenière’s overtime heroics would be required to secure two points in the rankings.
These goals aided the Rangers’ (28-14-8) good start, but a dizzying series of momentum shifts saw them lose three distinct leads. With fewer than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Blueshirts trailed by one goal, but Mika Zibanejad’s second goal of the game forced overtime.
Chytil was rewarded by being assigned to the opening shift of the extra session when he nearly completed a spectacular hat trick. A golden opportunity from the slot struck Elias Lindholm in the thigh, followed by a delicious rebound denied by Flames goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom.
Those misses set up Lafrenière, who fed Zibanejad off a two-on-one and then pounced on the rebound to send the MSG crowd into a frenzy. Throughout Chytil’s hot streak, which saw him lead the squad with eight goals in January, he’s stuck to the same credo.
It should come as no surprise that Chytil is getting the lion’s share of the spotlight as the one doing the most of the scoring. It’s especially notable given that he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. However, Lafrenière’s season has improved in recent weeks.
Watch the match highlights below.
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