Rangers hope extra rest will help Filip Chytil and Blake Wheeler

It’s not yet clear when the Rangers will begin the Eastern Conference Finals, but the extra rest gained by avoiding Game 7 against the Hurricanes could pay dividends in Game 1 against the Bruins or Panthers.

That goes for all teams getting extra rest, but especially the Rangers, who are waiting and hoping Filip Chytil will be ready, and maybe Blake Wheeler too.

The Rangers were intentionally vague about both players’ return from injury and did not practice Friday.

Filip Chytil of the New York Rangers
Filip Chytil of the New York Rangers hopes to return for the conference finals. Jason Szenes for the New York Post

Chytil, who played in Game 3 against the Hurricanes before leaving the lineup, participated in full-contact practice starting in Game 5, while Wheeler was officially released from long-term injured reserve on Thursday after spending the week to fully participate in training.

After recovering from a suspected concussion suffered in November playing in Game 3, Chytil’s status became a mystery.

He did not skate two days later, officially due to illness, but missed Game 5 because of soreness.

The Czech was not made available to journalists.

Wheeler, who suffered a serious right leg injury in February, was expected to miss the rest of the season, but his return to practice gave the Rangers a glimmer of hope.

Having either player in the conference finals would be a boon for a team that hasn’t gotten much production from its 12th-ranked forward position in the second round, with Peter Laviolette reluctant to face Matt Rempe on the road or in the third period.

Blake Wheeler
Blake Wheeler could be a boost for the Rangers. Jason Szenes for the New York Post

Not only would this be a major emotional boost, but the roster options for Laviolette would immediately become intriguing if he were working with a good team of players.

The more time the Rangers have to recover and make this a possibility, the better.

After scoring just 12 points in the regular season, Barclay Goodrow’s empty-net goal Thursday night made it five points in 10 playoff games for the two-time Cup champion. Goodrow is just one point away from tying his career high in the playoffs.

Follow The Post’s coverage of the Rangers in the NHL playoffs

Mika Zibanejad became the 10th player in Rangers history with 10 assists in potentially series-clinching games with Brian Leetch and Mark Messier.

New York Post

Back to top button