HomeSportsAfter Hurricanes' late equalizer, Artemi Panarin takes up the challenge and gives...

After Hurricanes’ late equalizer, Artemi Panarin takes up the challenge and gives Rangers a 3-0 lead

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

Their 3-2 win over Carolina was another gritty comeback win, one that required a quick shrug of a late goal that could have left a lesser team grumbling and, if things turned around, suddenly plunged into a tight series . .

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

Rising bread indeed.

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

Each of these goals was a game winner.

Not bad for a man who was coming off an agonizing series against the Devils 12 months ago in which he had just two assists as the Rangers’ lofty expectations were shattered. He was largely invisible in those seven games, a disappointment. Now, of course, he’s an indispensable star for a team that seems destined to have a big June.

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

The Rangers didn’t waver. Just 1:43 into OT, Panarin scored. As he celebrated, he kicked out one leg. Trocheck and Alexis Lafrenière got assists on goal, another in a long line of moments that showcase the great chemistry the three have developed this season as one of the best lines in the NHL.

“It was a great game from all three,” said Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said at his post-game press conference in Raleigh, N.C. ‘That’s Artemi. He has the talent to make that play. Just a very nice game from Troch and a nice finish from Artemi.

“It was a clutch,” added Lafrenière, who is in the midst of a play-off breakout of his own after scoring three times in the past two games. “He’s been great for us all year and continues to be great in the playoffs. He’s obviously a big player for us and he was great.”

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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 stay resilient and don’t let our heads drop. Of course we don’t want to give up a goal so late, but we’ll stick with it. [into locker room] knowing that the next goal wins the match”, Trocheck talked about the mood after the late equalizer. “Brood spoke in the locker room and then spoke on the ice.”

Panarin’s four game-winning goals (so far) lead the NHL and also tie 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. Yes, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup both years, more parallels between this present and other great Blueshirt pasts.

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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 great in scoring and their penalty kill is stomping on Carolina’s power play, holding the Canes to 0-for-15 so far and getting a shorthanded goal from Chris Kreider on Thursday. Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad scores seven games and Lafrenière capitalizes on his outsized potential as the NHL’s brilliance continues to brighten.

Panarin’s points series is more modest: four games. In total, he has four goals and five assists in seven playoff games.

But the fact that he has had such a huge impact so far cannot be overstated. Coming into the playoffs, his performance was always going to be a talking point for Blueshirts. In a season where they won the Presidents’ Trophy, which only added to already high expectations, they needed Panarin to step up as he had done all year. He is.

It seems like Panarin’s resilience is also a big problem.

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