Kaapo Kakko joins rest of Kid Line’s scoring surge to give Rangers vital edge


Kaapo Kakko may have been feeling isolated.

Regardless of whether or not he knew, he took action.

A one-timer from Matt Kakko with 2:28 to go in the second period gave the Rangers a 3-2 advantage over the Lightning and a place in the Eastern Conference Final on Friday night at the Garden.


The goal and its setup were both masterpieces.

Kakko was waiting at the front of the crease, to the left of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, for a great feed from Rangers defenseman Adam Fox, who seems to do everything right with the puck on his stick.

As a result, the Tampa Bay goaltender was unable to see the puck until it was already behind him.


A boom mic picked up Kakko complimenting Fox on a well-placed pass when they arrived to the bench.

It was “a little broken play,” Fox recalled, “and Fil [Chytil] made a nice feed to me and I just tried to get that defensemen [Hedman and Rutta] to move out of the lane a little bit.” Kaapo’s great tip there.

With his linemates grabbing all the headlines recently, Kakko may have felt a little out of place.


Since Game 3 of the first-round series against Pittsburgh, Kakko, one-third of the Rangers’ dynamic, difference-making, headline-stealing, goal-scoring Kid Line, had not scored a goal.

After the game, Kakko commented, “It always feels fantastic to score a goal.” Before that, we had some chances, and Foxy got the puck and made a fantastic pass. I just stayed in front of the net and we got some chances.” It was a simple task for me to complete. “Put it in the net,” they say.

The 21-year-old winger came into Friday with just one goal and three assists in 15 postseason appearances. His teammates, on the other hand, are humming along.


On Wednesday night, Filip Chytil scored twice in the second period as the Lightning were beaten 6-2 in Game 1 of the playoffs. He now has seven goals and two assists in 16 playoff games. Two goals and seven assists are Alexis Lafreniere’s total.

Asked whether or if he thought Kakko felt isolated from his teammates, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said: “It was nice to see him score. When he gets in front of the blue paint, he has a major impact on our team. “It’s good for Kaapo.’


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