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Rangers’ Filip Chytil exits game with injury after late hit

CHICAGO — The only thing that could’ve put a damper on the Rangers’ 7-1 thrashing of the Blackhawks Sunday night was an injury.

And so it goes, Filip Chytil exited the game with what the Rangers described as an upper-body injury after absorbing a late and high hit from the Blackhawks’ Sam Lafferty toward the end of the second period. As usual, head coach Gerard Gallant didn’t have an immediate update on the Czech center, who he said is day-to-day.

The clear-as-day headshot from Lafferty is just the latest example of one of the NHL’s greatest problems. Lafferty not only followed through despite the fact that the puck had left Chytil’s stick, but the Chicago forward left his feet and motioned upwards right into Chytil’s face. Chytil, who has already missed time this season with a suspected concussion, collapsed to the ice and quickly retreated to the locker room.

Despite not finishing the game, Chytil still finished with two points. After putting the Rangers on the board in the first period, burying a feed from Alexis Lafreniere at 13:04, he later had a hand in another stellar passing sequence from the Kid Line. Kaapo Kakko finished that one off for the 3-0 lead with 56.6 seconds left in the opening frame.

Filip Chytil left the Rangers’ win over the Blackhawks with an upper-body injury.
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“We were flat the first seven, eight minutes, which we expect in back-to-back games,” Gallant said. “Usually the first 10 minutes is the toughest part to get going. After that, I thought we played really good, but [the Kid Line] was a big part of it tonight, for sure.”

Chytil has struggled to stay healthy over the course of his six seasons with the Rangers. Part of it could be a durability concern, but he’s also been involved in so many bad collisions throughout his tenure. After seemingly taking off during the Rangers’ run to the conference final last season, Chytil has had some impactful stretches through the start of this season, in which he has already matched his goal total (eight) in each of the past two seasons in just 25 games.

At the end of October, Chytil took an elbow to the head from behind from Blue Jackets forward Cole Sillinger. He missed the next six games as a result. Earlier this month, Chytil sat out of two games with a minor lower-body injury, too.

Aside from Igor Shesterkin in goal, the Rangers rolled with the same lineup they dressed Saturday against the Flyers. Shesterkin stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced in his 16th win of the season.

After Sunday’s game, the Rangers have an off day Monday as they travel to Pittsburgh, where they will face the Penguins on Tuesday.

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