Gerard Gallant: Filip Chytil 'becoming a man' as Rangers take Game 1 over Lightning

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New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was full of praise for Filip Chytil's performance after his side's 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in their series opener on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old scored twice and was one of six Rangers players with two points on the way to defeating the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

Chytil made it 3-2 at a critical juncture, at 10:09 of the second period, scoring from the left circle off a pass from Kaapo Kakko, who was behind the net.

The Czech center broke the game open and scored his second from the right circle to make it 4-2, handing the Rangers their first series lead in these playoffs, and their head coach was evidently impressed.

"He's growing up to be a man," Gallant said post-game. "Every time he goes out there, he's more confident. He's stronger. He's growing up."

"A lot of sharpness. Our team just kept going. We got a day off and kept playing. Obviously, they [the Lightning] looked rusty."

Chytil has scored eight goals in his previous two regular seasons for the Rangers, but has now contributed seven goals for the team in 15 games over the 2022 playoffs, trailing only Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.

Zibanejad, however, only trails the free-scoring Edmonton Oilers duo of Connor McDavid (29) and Leon Draisatl (28) for points over the playoffs with 21.

The Eastern Conference final stays in New York for Game 2, with the two teams facing off at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

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