Matt Rempe of the New York Rangers has become a villainous NHL sensation

Getty Matt Rempe of the New York Rangers has become a villainous NHL sensation

After two games in which he barely featured, the New York Rangers finally moved on from Matt Rempe in the 3-2 Game 3 overtime win of their second-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rempe had played just 11:09 of a possible 147:24 minutes through the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette introduced Filip Chytil, returning from a months-long injury, in the lineup for Game 3 in replacement of Rempe.

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Laviolette discussed the change after the overtime win that has his team leading the series 3-0 ahead of Game 4, implying Rempe might not play again.

“We don’t have to change anymore,” Laviolette told reporters after Game 3 on May 9.

“[Chytil] has been working really hard,” Laviolette said about the returning player. “He has been attacking every day to get to that point. We all came to an agreement that the time was now and was approaching.

“We needed to try and maximize the bench as much as we could. This was a perfect opportunity for him to reenter the lineup and I thought he got better as the game went on.”


Rangers Take Commanding 3-0 Series Lead With Filip Chytil Back

For the second time in as many games and days, the contest between the Rangers and the Hurricanes played on Thursday, May 9, went to overtime… and it was New York once again scoring the winning goal.

This match, however, featured a change as the Rangers welcomed back forward Chytil. To make room for Chytil in the lineup, New York made rookie Rempe a healthy scratch on Thursday.

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Chytil has been practicing with the rest of his teammates for nearly a month after returning to practice by mid-April, but he had not played since he suffered an upper-body injury considered a concussion against the Hurricanes on November 2, 2023.

“This team is unbelievable, Chytil told reporters in his post-game availability on May 9, via MSG Networks. “Without me for a whole season, what they did, but I know with me, we can be even better.

Just in his first appearance after being out of the lineup for more than six months, Chytil logged 12:02 minutes of playing time and topped Rempe’s minutes through the first two games of the series (which included a double-overtime contest in Game 2).


Matt Rempe Could Become a Steady Healthy Scratch

Before the start of the postseason, Laviolette told reporters on April 18 that he wouldn’t comment on lineup decisions between games to avoid giving his opponents any advantage.

The Rangers coach, in fact, didn’t announce Chytil’s return to the lineup at all and nobody knew about it until the pregame warmups.

Chytil was used on the left wing of the third line with Alexander Wennberg in the middle and Kaapo Kakko handling the right wing. Rookie Will Cuylle moved to the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey, with Rempe getting shelved.

After not playing a single second in any of the third periods of Games 1 and 2 (nor in the overtimes), it’s fair to assume that New York will keep Rempe off the lineup while moving Chytil into it for the rest of the series against the Hurricanes, if not the full postseasons.

Last season, Chytil scored 45 regular-season points. This year, however, he could only score 6 points in the 10 games he played before getting shut down until his postseason debut on May 9.


Hurricanes Make Goalie Change, Decision Backfires

The Rangers weren’t alone in shaking up the lineup. On the other side of the rink on Thursday, the Hurricanes decided to flip their starter on net, removing Frederik Andersen from goal and deploying rookie Pyotr Kochetkov.

Following back-to-back losses, Andersen gave way to Kochetkov in the latter’s postseason debut this year. 24-year-old Kochetkov couldn’t lift Carolina to a victory, however, losing Game 3 allowing 3 goals on 25 shots on goal.

Through the first two games, Andersen had stopped 54 of 62 shots posting a mediocre-at-best .870 save percentage. Kochetkov finished the regular season with a solid .911 SV% stopping 939 of the 1,031 shots he saw through 42 games, 40 of them as the starter on net.

Artemi Panarin scored the game-winning goal for New York at 1:43 of overtime as the Rangers pulled off a 3-2 win. Chris Kreider in the second period and Alexis Lafreniere in the third were the other two New York goalscorers. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday, May 11.

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