Matt Rempe Back? Rangers’ Forward Health ‘Definitely a Concern’

Tony DeAngelo of the Carolina Hurricanes banged a Rangers rookie with an elbow to the head.

Getty Tony DeAngelo of the Carolina Hurricanes banged a Rangers rookie with an elbow to the head.

The Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers for the first time in their second-round series, winning Game 4 by a score of 3-2 on Saturday, May 11.

The Rangers can’t say they were fully shorthanded, but the fact is that they missed one player on Saturday’s game. Filip Chytil had just made his comeback two days earlier in time for Game 3 played on May 9, but he didn’t play in Game 4 with an “illness.”

USA Today’s Vince Mercogliano provided an update on the availability of Rangers’ Filip Chytil on Saturday. The forward missed Game 4 right having made his comeback two days prior for Game 3.

“That’s the big question,” Mercogliano told SNY’s Michelle Margaux on May 11. “I have some serious doubts right now. [The Rangers] were very vague about exactly what this illness is.

“Everybody’s mind is going to go to the concussion history that we know he has, that kept him out for over six months this season. You have to wonder in the back of your mind, ‘Is any of this related to something that happened in Game 3? Is he feeling any aftereffects?

“It’s definitely a concern moving forward.”

The Rangers will host the Hurricanes in New York for Game 5 on Monday. Their series lead is now down to 3-1 following their Game 4 loss in Carolina.

Filip Chytil Ruled Out for Game 4 With an “Illness”

Chytil completed his six-month rehab right ahead of the playoffs. He returned to skate in practice with his teammates at the start of the postseason. He made his comeback in New York’s Game 3 win over Carolina.

The forward, however, was not a participant in the morning skate ahead of Game 4 due to an “illness,” according to the Rangers, via New York Post’s Mollie Walker. New York said his presence on Saturday’s contest was going to be a “game-time decision” and he ultimately didn’t play.

After practice on Saturday, May 11, Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette said Chytil “felt great” after Game 3 and on Friday. He added that the forward “went to the team meal” before he “woke up this morning (Saturday) and didn’t feel well.”

As Mollie Walker reported on May 11, Laviolette didn’t add any details about Chytil’s illness or his situation after practice. There is concern (as later confirmed by Mercogliano) about his absence being related to his concussion history.

Will Matt Rempe Return to the Lineup With Filip Chytil Out?

Laviolette didn’t address any question regarding Chytil nor his status for Game 5 in his postgame availability on May 11 following the 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes in Game 4.

The Rangers introduced Chytil in their Game 3 lineup. The forward, who had been staking with his teammates in practices since the start of the playoffs, played more minutes in his first game back than Matt Rempe had logged in the first two games of the series against the Hurricanes combined.

“[Chytil] has been working really hard,” Laviolette told reporters after Game 3 on May 9. “He has been attacking every day to get to that point. This was a perfect opportunity for him to reenter the lineup and I thought he got better as the game went on.”

Laviolette deployed Chytil on the left wing on the Rangers’ third forward line along with Alexander Wennberg in the middle and Kaapo Kakko to his right. Chytil logged 12:02 minutes of playing time in Game 3.

With Chytil out in Game 4, however, the Rangers decided to use Jonny Brodzinski instead of Matt Rempe. Brodzinski was used on the right wing of the fourth line with Rempe becoming a healthy scratch for the second game in a row.

Rempe, however, could return to the lineup on Monday if Chytil is ruled out and Laviolette gets back to the forward lines used in Games 1 and 2 that saw New York beat the Canes twice.

“We don’t have the (last) change any more. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose what we want to do,” Laviolette told reporters on May 9.

The Rangers will have the last change on Monday in Game 5 playing at home. Carolina won’t be able to exploit any matchups with Rempe on the ice. Those two things make it possible for Laviolette to bring Rempe back to the lineup.

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