Sometimes the NHL schedule works perfectly. Thursday counts as one such example, as Patrick Kane debuted for the New York Rangers during the same game. Jakob Chychrun played his first game in an Ottawa Senators uniform. Although the Rangers went into the third period with a 3-2 lead, the Senators shot through to a 5-3 win.
This means four consecutive victories for the Senators, who must finish very strong for the Chychrun to act on the present – not just the future.
Neither Kane nor Chychrun scored in their respective debuts. Here’s an additional look at how their first nights went not long after both trade deadline headliners were handed out.
Speaking of looks, here are some first looks at those prominent players in new duds:
Injury fears for Chychrun, senators stay hot
Chychrun had been out since February 10 for being a healthy scratch for “trade related reasons”. He came in on Thursday with 28 points in 36 games this season. While Chychrun must have felt rusty, things seemed to get a little dusty there too during an interview explaining what it felt like to join the Senators.
Midway through the third period, Chychrun tangled with Filip Chytil and was assisted by a trainer. On the plus side, Chychrun left the ice under his own power and bent his right leg. After testing that leg, Chychrun was able to play during that same final frame. While a player will sometimes grind through the pain only to miss time later with an injury, it’s a promising sign that he was able to bounce back after a good scare.
The 24-year-old has already dealt with more than a few injuries in his career, so the senators have to hope he has better luck than he did in Arizona.
Chychrun ended up recording 19:16 time on ice (including 1:56 on the power play and 3:14 shorthanded). During his first game, Chychrun teamed up with Nick Holden most often. While Chychrun can play on the right, it’ll be interesting to see if that ultimately suits a Senator defense that looks heavy on left-handed shots.
Overall, the Senators won based on other big names. Claude Giroux powered the comeback with three points (one goal, two assists), perhaps courtesy of Ottawa’s front office for the Chychrun trade.
Fittingly, perhaps, faces of a senator ranger trade from many years ago loomed large. In his 1,000th NHL game, Derick Brassard scored two goals and nearly three on an empty net. Brassard’s trading counterpart Mika Zibanejad collected two assists himself, but it wasn’t enough.
Kane creates chances, but no production on Rangers debut
As expected, Patrick Kane spent most of his tied-strength shifts with former Blackhawks teammate Artemi Panarin on a line centered by Vincent Trocheck. Kane logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time (19:36) in his Rangers debut, including a whopping 5:58 on the power play. We’ll see if the Rangers tinker over time, but against the Senators, they charged with a top PP unit of Kane, Panarin, Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Adam Fox.
At the end of the day, Kane couldn’t score a goal or provide an assist, but he fired four shots at the net. His minus-2 rating isn’t anything to worry about, especially since he was allowed on the ice for an empty netter.
Kane also had an interesting moment with former teammate Alex DeBrincat.
The Senators are tied among four Eastern Conference bubble teams with 66 points in the standings, with only the Sabers having more games scheduled (22) than Ottawa’s 21. It’s probably not going to be an easy race for a playoff spot, but the recent wave at least gives the Sens a chance from the outside.
For the Rangers, it’s all about fine-tuning with 20 games left in the regular season. They will almost certainly take on the Devils in the first round, and from the looks of it, the series will probably start in New Jersey.
By then Patrick Kane may be completely on the same wavelength as his new team.