Kid Line giving New York Rangers momentum heading into break
There were several positive takeaways from both the New York Rangers‘ win over the Florida Panthers on Monday and loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
With the “Kid Line” heating up and a full effort from the entire lineup on Monday, there are factors to build upon in order to beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights before the All-Star break and the Rangers’ bye week. It would be ideal to take that kind of momentum into the 9 day layoff.
The New York Rangers “Kid Line”
Despite Gerard Gallant giving these young forwards time on other lines, Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko always seem to end up together again.
Their chemistry has been apparent in the last two games. Lafrenière and Chytil each recorded one goal and assist on Monday night, and Kakko picked up two assists. Chytil scored twice on Wednesday night, the first unassisted and the second assisted by both Kakko and Lafrenière.
While Kakko and Lafrenière have each gotten time on the top line this season, putting them together with Chytil in the middle is when all three play their best. The Rangers needed these players to step up this season, and now they are. If they can stay hot against Vegas, they will be greatly contributing to a potential win.
“I think they’re comfortable together and they like each other,” Gallant said upon reuniting them versus the Panthers. “I think it could be a good line for a long time and hopefully that’s the case.”
The success of the “Kid Line” has been an excellent story, but as Kakko has previously mentioned, “It can’t be the Kid Line forever.”
Complete effort against Florida
In addition to Lafrenière, Chytil, and Kakko combining for two goals, Adam Fox continued to demonstrate his offensive abilities against the Panthers, opening the scoring early in the first period and collecting two assists. Mika Zibanejad scored twice and assisted on Fox’s goal along with Artemi Panarin who recorded three assists. Jimmy Vesey also scored with Barclay Goodrow and Vincent Trocheck assisting on the goal.
Clearly, a variety of players contributed to the Rangers’ powerful 6-2 win. The third period was the Rangers’ strongest unlike against Toronto. Maintaining pressure and protecting leads late have presented some trouble for the team throughout the season. But against the Panthers, this was not a concern. Additionally, the Rangers got away from looking for perfect plays. The goals by Vesey and Lafrenière were the products of hard work in front of the net through traffic. These kinds of plays are critical to long term success, especially in the playoffs.
Getting contributions from up and down the lineup and playing hard in the third to protect the lead are both parts of the complete effort that the Rangers need to return to against the Golden Knights.
Overall, they played well against the Maple Leafs but were unable to handle their strong third period which led to the game being tied at two and sent to overtime where Toronto quickly won. The Rangers will have to move on from this and stick to what they have done well to pick up a win on Friday before the break.
Mindset going into the break
A win over the Golden Knights on Friday would give the Rangers some momentum going into the break. They can do this by building on the elements of their game that have proven successful. However, if they do lose, the break will give them a chance to reset.
Always look for the silver lining.
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