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Chytil indicates he's ready to return for Rangers in Game 1


New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil has been practising in full and indicated to reporters on Tuesday he would be back in the lineup as the New York Rangers open the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers Wednesday evening.

The 24-year-old skated on the Rangers' third line alongside centre Alex Wennberg and right winger Kaapo Kakko in practice this week and also saw time on the second power play unit. 

"I had a good couple of practices with the guys," Chytil said Tuesday via "It's just so much fun to be here with everybody, be involved in all the drills, every battle and it's going to be nice to be involved in tomorrow's game as well."

Chytil had been out with an upper-body injury since Nov. 2, but returned for Game 3 of New York's second round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, Chytil did not play in Games 4, 5 and 6, missing Game 4 with an illness and Games 5 and 6 with the effects of that illness combined with soreness, according to head coach Peter Laviolette. 

"We're excited that he practised yesterday and we'll see how the next 24 hours go," Rangers general manager Chris Drury said Tuesday of Chytil's possible return.

A native of Kromeriz, Czechia, Chytil had zero goals and six assists in 10 games this season prior to suffering the injury. He had one shot on goal and one hit in 12:02 of ice time against the Hurricanes on May 9. 

Meanwhile, forward Blake Wheeler told reporters he is an "option and available" for Game 1. He has been out of the lineup since Feb. 15 but was cleared for contact last week and has been practising with the team.

Game 2 will go Friday night at Madison Square Garden before shifting to Florida for Game 3 on Sunday.