Rangers center Filip Chytil skates ahead of Boston Bruins defenseman...

Rangers center Filip Chytil skates ahead of Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in the first period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – If Filip Chytil looked like a different player on Tuesday than he has most of this season, it is because, after battling through pain and discomfort for much of the first half of the season, the 22-year-old Rangers center was finally fully healthy, he said Wednesday.

"I feel healthy now,’’ Chytil said, a day after scoring the only goal for the Rangers in regulation time of their 2-1 shootout victory Tuesday over the Boston Bruins. "That wasn't what it was before, the first half of the season.’’

Chytil missed the last five games before the NHL All-Star break with what the team said was a lower-body injury, which he appeared to suffer in the 7-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes Jan. 22 at Madison Square Garden. But, he said, he had been playing at less than 100% for a while, prior to that.

"There was something what I was battling through and yeah, I needed the rest (over the break),’’ he said.

Tuesday’s game was his first in more than three weeks, and he and his line, with Dryden Hunt and Julien Gauthier, played a strong game overall, dominating possession in the offensive zone.

"We didn't spend much time in the ‘D’ zone,’’ he said. "We had a lot of pucks yesterday. We were first on the pucks, almost the whole game.’’

Coach Gerard Gallant was impressed with the line, and with Chytil, whose goal at 6:45 of the third period tied the game at 1, and eventually forced overtime.

"He managed to puck real well; he didn't turn pucks over,’’ Gallant said. "He scored a good goal. He shot the puck, he went to the net for the rebound. You know, a lot of times, when you're not in a groove, you're turning away from that rebound. And he did the right things. He was strong. He looked like a man (Tuesday) night.’’

The goal was Chytil’s fifth of the year in 39 games – a pace that would produce nine goals in 73 games. That would be a disappointment for a player who had eight in 42 games last season, 14 in 60 games the season before that, and 11 in 75 games as a 19-year-old in his rookie season of 2018-19. And while he didn’t seem to want to blame his injuries this season for his struggles ("I can’t make any excuses,’’ he said), he says he can do things now that he couldn’t do before the All-Star break, like linger on the ice after practice to work on tiny details of his game.

"I feel great,’’ he said. "If you don't feel any pain, that's a great feeling. You can be back to yourself.’’

And feeling good has him believing that he will be a different player in the second half of the season than he was in the first.

"For me, it's like starting a new season,’’ he said. "I’ll forget what was in past. I was battling with some stuff that I want to forget, and yeah, now it starts for me, the new season.’’

Notes & quotes: The Rangers host the Detroit Red Wings Thursday at Madison Square Garden in a game rescheduled from Dec. 27… Mika Zibanejad did not practice Wednesday due to "maintenance,’’ the Rangers said.

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