Filip Chytil #72 of the New York Rangers skates during...

Filip Chytil #72 of the New York Rangers skates during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

In his pregame briefing with the media before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final series between the Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant joked with reporters that he wasn’t prepared to reveal anything in the session.

And then he revealed the only thing anyone really wanted to know, that both Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil would be in the lineup when the Rangers tried to re-take the lead in the best-of-seven series.

Strome, the center of the second line, between Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp, had been a late scratch for Game 4 in Tampa on Tuesday despite having taken part in the morning skate and in pregame warmups.

He had left Game 3 before it ended with what appeared to be a right knee injury suffered in the second period after he took a cross-check in the back from Tampa Bay forward Ondrej Palat.

Chytil, the center of the Rangers’ dynamic Kid Line, between Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko, left Game 4 late in the second period with what the Rangers said was an upper-body injury apparently suffered after he was checked into the boards by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman.

Both players were deemed game-time decisions by Gallant on Wednesday, at the coach’s media availability before the team flew back to New York from Tampa.

Chytil entered Game 5 third on the team in goals in the playoffs, with seven, and has been the main driving force for the Kid Line. Lafrenière admitted it was a little odd playing the final period of Game 4 without him.

“We lost Fil, we didn't have Stromer, so the lines were different,’’ Lafrenière said. “I had to play with almost everybody. It was different every shift, but it's just like, go out there, and, whoever you're with, play your game and try to make plays.’’

Without Strome, Gallant moved Copp to center and put Barclay Goodrow on the right wing, but after one period, the coach moved Panarin to the top line, with Mika Zibanejad, and put Chris Kreider on the left of Copp and Goodrow.

With Strome and Chytil both back in the lineup, Gallant was able to restore the lines he had been using for most of the series, with Kreider back with Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano, Strome between Panarin and Copp, and the Kid Line back together.

He did make one lineup change, scratching enforcer Ryan Reaves and keeping Kevin Rooney — who had taken Strome’s place in the lineup in Game 4 — on the fourth line. Rooney centered the line, between Tyler Motte and Goodrow.

Notes& quotes: Kreider entered the game tied with Rod Gilbert for the most postseason goals in team history, with 34. His 12 career postseason power play goals is one behind Adam Graves’ franchise record of 13… Zibanejad entered the game with six power play goals in these playoffs, tied with Graves (1996) for the team record for a single postseason.

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