Filip Chytil back at Rangers practice after being medically cleared; playoff return possible

Surprise, surprise.

For the first time since being shut down in late January after a setback in his recovery process from an upper-body injury, Filip Chytil was back at Rangers practice on Friday after being medically cleared.

The center, who has played in just 10 games this season, had been working out on his own and wanted to skate with the team. The 24-year-old practiced without a non-contact jersey.

“He looks good out there,” head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters, including Vince Z. Mercogliano, after practice. “There’s no timetable on Fil. We’re not going to rush him back. Whenever he feels and the eyes on him feel and the powers that be feel that he’s in a good spot, that’s a different story.”

The Blueshirts will be cautious with the former first-round draft pick and are prioritizing his health over a return this season.

The Rangers have two more regular season games (Saturday afternoon against the Islanders and Monday night against the Ottawa Senators) before the playoffs begin.

The last day of the regular season is Thursday, April 18, while the NHL playoffs begin on April 22.

New York is currently in first place in both the Eastern Conference and NHL with 110 points and a 53-23-4 record. However, the Carolina Hurricanes (107 points, three games left), Boston Bruins (107 points, three games left) and Florida Panthers (106 points, two games left) all still have a shot at the top spot in the East.