There’s no denying just how much fun the New York Rangers “kid Line” has been having in the playoffs. That of course refers to the trio of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, for those just jumping on the Blue Shirt bandwagon.
While the Rangers are Trialing the series, it was the kids that helped keep their season alive with a pair of clutch goals –including the game-winner — to force a Game 6 in Pittsburgh on Friday night. In a series where not much has gone right for New York, Lafreniere, Chytil and Kakko have proven to be bright spots.
The line has combined for eight points and four goals this postseason, with Lafrenier’s two goals leading the trio. It was Chytil with his first career playoff goal that became the biggest goal of the season for a Blue Shirt skater.
Lafreniere’s game-tying goal is right up there with the Chytil goal in its importance in the Game 5 win. Naturally, it was Kakko who set up the play.
“It’s great. We started to play together last season and this season we didn’t see much together,” Chytil explained about the line. “But I think we built from every game the chemistry and we’re just young guys so we’re just trying to play hockey. Have fun and just do the right things. Work hard and I think we’re getting better with each game.”
It has been quite the experience for the Rangers youngsters, who have given the team life in the series. New York’s top two lines have remained somewhat quiet through the first-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lafreniere is now just the fourth player 20 years old or younger in Rangers history to score in consecutive playoff games and he has four points (two goals, two assists) in five games. Kakko has a goal and an assist in his past three games.
“It’s playoffs. Of course, we’re having fun,” Kakko said.
The New York New York will need its “Kid Line” again on Friday when the series shifts back to Pittsburgh. The Rangers showed plenty of character in their comeback win in Game 5, but they still trail the series 3-2.
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“It’s a lot of fun,” Lafreniere said. “We’re having fun but you’ve got to work hard every shift. That’s what makes it that much fun. Still have some things to work on.”
New York has lost both games at PPG Paints Arena, but owns a 2-1 record at MSG in the series. If the Blue Shirts can force a Game 7 back at The Garden then history would be on their side.