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After Hurricanes’ late equalizer, Artemi Panarin rises up to challenge and puts Rangers up 3-0

May 10th, 2024

Ranger Resilience has been such a big theme throughout the Blueshirts’ season and these playoffs and that certainly manifested itself again Thursday night.

Their 3-2 victory over Carolina was another rugged comeback win, one that required a quick shrug-off of a gut punch of a late goal that might’ve left a lesser team moping and, if things devolved, suddenly locked in a tight series.

But there was Artemi Panarin in overtime, moving in front of the Canes’ net. Panarin, the Rangers’ best offensive threat all season, lifted his left leg as he worked his stick to re-direct a shot by Vincent Trocheck between his own legs and into the Hurricanes goal. Game over.

Bread rising, indeed.

It was another huge goal for Panarin, more proof that he could be on the kind of playoff heater that will be talked about for years. Panarin, who had 49 goals and 120 points in his best-ever regular season, has scored four times in these playoffs.

Every single one of those goals has been a game-winner.

Not bad for a guy who, 12 months ago, was processing a painful series against the Devils in which he had only two assists as the Rangers’ high expectations were shattered. He was mostly invisible in those seven games, a disappointment. Now, of course, he’s an indispensable star for a team that looks like destiny might be sizing it up for a significant June.

But, Thursday night, it looked like the series with the Hurricanes was about to change drastically when Carolina scored with 1:36 remaining in regulation to force overtime at PNC Arena.

The Rangers did not wobble. Just 1:43 into OT, Panarin scored. As he celebrated, he kicked out one leg. Trocheck and Alexis Lafrenière got assists on the goal, another in a long line of moments that show what terrific chemistry the three have developed as one of the best lines in the NHL this season.

“It was a great play, by all three of them,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said in his post-game press conference in Raleigh, NC. “That’s Artemi. He’s got the talent to make that play. Just a really nice play by Troch and a nice finish by Artemi.”

“It was clutch,” added Lafrenière, who is having a playoff breakout of his own, having scored three times in the past two games. “He’s been amazing for us all year and keeps it going in the playoffs. He’s obviously a big player for us and he’s been amazing.”

New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game three of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena.

“It was just making sure we’re staying resilient, not hanging our heads, obviously we don’t wanna give up a goal late like that, but sticking with it, coming [into locker room] knowing that next goal wins the game,” Trocheck said about the mood after the late equalizer. “Bread spoke up in the locker room and then spoke up on the ice, too.”

Panarin’s four game-winning goals – so far – lead the NHL and also match a team record also held by three other Rangers. Mark Messier and Brian Leetch both did it in 1994 and Frank Boucher did it in 1928. Yep, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in both of those years, more parallels between this present and other big Blueshirt pasts.

So much is going right for the Rangers as they have won their first seven playoff games, something they haven’t done since, you guessed it, 1994.

Igor Shesterkin has been tremendous in goal and their penalty-kill is stomping on Carolina’s power play, holding the Canes to 0-for-15 so far and getting a short-handed goal from Chris Kreider on Thursday. Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad are riding seven-game point streaks and Lafrenière is cashing in on his outsized potential, all as the NHL glare gets brighter.

Panarin’s point streak is more modest – four games. Overall, he has four goals and five assists in seven playoff games.

But the fact that he’s had such a huge impact so far can’t be overstated. Coming into the playoffs, his performance was always going to be a Blueshirts talking point. In a season in which they won the Presidents’ Trophy, which only beefed up already lofty hopes, they needed Panarin to soar like he had all year. He is.

Panarin’s resilience, it seems, is a pretty big deal, too.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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