RALEIGH, N.C. — Filip Chytil, the 18-year-old center who scored his first NHL goal Friday against Tampa Bay, has been a different, and much better player in his second stint with the team than he was when he played in two games at the beginning of the season, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
“He’s more confident right now,’’ Vigneault said of Chytil, who was called up from AHL Hartford last Sunday, along with fellow teen Lias Andersson.
“He’s skating with the puck,’’ Vigneault said of Chytil. “You can really sense that he’s a powerful, strong, north-south skater. He wasn’t afraid [Friday] on three occasions, to take that puck to the net, even though there was traffic. And that’s where you score the goals.
“I mean, you’ve got to get to the front of the net; you’ve got to hack and whack,’’ Vigneault said. “And Filip has showed — I mean, it’s just a small segment here, but in the games that he’s been here so far — he’s shown that willingness to take the puck to the tough areas. And that’s very positive.’’
Forward David Desharnais took a shot off his left wrist in Friday’s game and was unavailable to play against Carolina. Before the game, Vigneault said there were other bumps and bruises among his team’s forwards, and the actual lineup would be a last-minute decision.
The only change to the lineup was the insertion of Paul Carey to the lineup in place of Desharnais. Vigneault did tweak the lines a little, though, moving Kevin Hayes back to center, between Ryan Spooner and Pavel Buchnevich, and dropping Andersson to the fourth line, with Vladislav Namestnikov and Carey.
Assistant coach Lindy Ruff, who missed Wednesday’s game after suffering a concussion in a fall at practice Tuesday, returned to the team for Friday’s game and made the trip to Raleigh as well.