NEW YORK — artemi panarin he fought through the stress and irritation that plagued him during the first round of the Eastern Conference to achieve his signature moment with the New York Rangers.
The magic that made Panarin a sensation early in his NHL career (he won the Calder Trophy voted NHL Rookie of the Year with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016) faded for six games and three periods in Game 7. However, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant had a feeling that Panarin would be the one to score in extra time.
The forward did it with a power-play goal at 4:46 to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on Sunday and a date with the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
New York is the 31st team in NHL history to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series and the first team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history with three straight elimination game wins. within the same series.
[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs Penguins series coverage]
So does that make Panarin’s goal the biggest of his NHL career?
“It’s hard to say,” Panarin said. “I don’t really score that many goals, so I would say they are all quite, quite big.”
Panarin’s goals were hardly plentiful against the Penguins. Coming into the first round, he averaged 0.93 points per playoff game (28 points, 10 goals, 18 assists in 30 games). Although he was at 1.00 per game (six points, two goals, four assists) in the series, something was missing.
The Penguins neutralized his ability to excel in wide open spaces and forced him to take penalties, his second of Game 7 coming at 8:08 of the third period for a top defense. kris letang. The Rangers were rescued by three saves from Igor Shesterkintwo in sidney crosby in his return after missing half of Game 5 and all of Game 6 with an upper-body injury.
“It was a really stressful game,” said Panarin. “There wasn’t a lot of room on the ice. They were really pushing. One team was throwing it out of the zone, the other team was throwing it into the zone. I really couldn’t get a general idea of what was going on.” on.
“Overall, honestly, they’ve let me shoot since the first game. It’s kind of bad. I haven’t really been taking those shots, but maybe I should listen to everyone’s advice and go out there and take shots.”
Panarin made his best shot when the Rangers needed it most, a shot from the top of the right circle past the glove of tristan jarrythe Penguins’ goaltender who started Game 7 after not playing since April 14 due to a broken ankle.
Just like that, the Garden went into a frenzy and Panarin was once again the center of attention.
“That’s how it is,” defense. jacob trouba saying. “A little quirky, but I get the same feeling hearing what he’s going to say. You don’t know what ‘Bread’ is going to say or what he’s going to do and what he’s capable of. He does it all, especially for this group, for being such a skilled and talented player. He’s just another guy, another player on the team, and that’s a great thing. Happy to have him.”
Thanks to Panarin, the Rangers are in the second round for the first time since a six-game loss to the Ottawa Senators in 2017. If you ask Mika Zibanejadwho scored the equalizer with 5:45 left in the third to set up Panarin’s playoff moment, no further explanation is needed.
“I don’t have to sit here and go through their stats,” Zibanejad said. “I think everyone knows the type of player he is, but the way he is, the competitor he is. He always wants to win and I think that’s… guys see that… that’s what brings us the success that we’ve had. until now. “