Youth was served Monday night at the Garden.
After 19-year-old Filip Chytil tied the game with his first goal of the year in the second period, 20-year-old Brett Howden delivered the game-winner in the third to lift the surging Rangers past the Canucks 2-1.
The Canucks played the final 1:15 with a six-on-four, but the Rangers held on, with Henrik Lundqvist collecting 25 saves in net.
It was the Canucks (10-7-2) who entered the night with the hyped rookie in Elias Pettersson but the Rangers (9-7-2) showed off their own youngsters while winning for the sixth time in seven games as they continued to take form playing David Quinn’s style of hockey.
Howden broke a 1-1 tie in the third period shortly after a faceoff. Jimmy Vesey’s shot had been blocked by a Canucks defenseman but the puck found Howden, who came in from the wing and quickly snapped it past Jacob Markstrom at 11:19 for his fourth goal of the year.
Much of the rest of the night belonged to Chytil who stole the show. He was all around the net creating chances before finally getting rid of the goose egg at 12:42 of the second period. It came on the power play, with Chytil taking the injured Pavel Buchnevich’s spot on the first unit. Neal Pionk fired a shot from just inside the blue line that Markstrom denied, but the juicy rebound went to Chytil and he didn’t miss, burying it to tie the game 1-1.
With Buchnevich sidelined by a broken thumb, Chytil had started the game as the fourth-line center, with Ryan Spooner taking Buchnevich’s place at right wing on the first line and top power-play unit. But by late in the second period, Chytil had ascended into those roles, moving to left wing with Vladislav Namestnikov sliding over to the right.
Quinn had said before the game he didn’t want to play Chytil on the wing, but the 19-year-old may have forced his coach’s hand with his strong play.
After a scoreless first period, the Canucks took a 1-0 lead early in the second when an empty power play immediately came back to bite the Rangers. Nikolay Goldobin came out of the box and took a pass from Tyler Motte to enter the zone on a two-on-one. He kept it for himself and flung a wrister top shelf to beat Lundqvist at 3:16 for the 1-0 lead.
The Canucks nearly doubled their lead less than a minute later, when former Ranger Michael Del Zotto ripped a shot on net on another odd-man rush. But the puck clanked off the left post to the crossbar to the right post without ever crossing the crease. It was ruled no goal in real time, then briefly changed to a goal after a stoppage. But upon video review, referees wiped away the goal.