Artemi Panarin makes up for off-series with Rangers winner

When the Rangers went into overtime in Game 7 against the Penguins Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, head coach Gerard Gallant said he knew who would score the game-winning goal for his team if it did happen.

Artemi Panarin proved his coach right as he whipped the puck from the top of the right faceoff circle and past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry to secure a 4-3 OT win for Rangers, who are now in the second round have a date with the Hurricanes.

When asked what he saw in his game winner, Panarin covered his eyes with his hand and said, without the help of a translator, “Black screen.” The Russian with the curly head naturally had a big smile on his face.

“All in all, honestly, they’ve let me shoot since the first game,” he continued through a translator. “Kind of bad, I didn’t actually take those shots. But maybe I should listen to everyone’s advice and actually go out and record.”

Artemi Panarin
Artemi Panarin celebrates after scoring the winning goal.
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Despite scoring three goals and four assists in that series, Panarin wasn’t his usual dynamic self. The star winger struggled especially in Game 7, turning some forced passes into turnovers.

Still, Panarin was an influence on this series and was the Rangers’ hero at its greatest moment.

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“It was a really stressful game,” he said through the translator. “There wasn’t that much space on the ice.”

Gallant pointed out that after a concert Saturday night at the Garden, the ice was in rough shape and the puck was extremely springy, affecting Panarin’s game more than other players, the coach said. But Panarin looked like he felt that game-winning shot right to the end.

Artemi Panarin
Artemi Panarin made up for his struggles in the early series.
Getty Images

“He’s just like that,” Jacob Trouba said. “I’m thinking a bit whimsical, but I get the same feeling when I hear what he’s going to say. To think that you don’t know what Bread will say or what he will do and what he is capable of. He does everything, especially for this group. For being such a highly skilled, talented player, he doesn’t act that way.

“He’s just another guy, another player on the team and that’s a pretty cool thing for a guy at that level. I’m glad to have him.”

The Rangers won their first playoff series since Round 1 in 2017 against the Canadiens, earning their 54th all-time series win. While improving to 3-5 against Pittsburgh in the playoff series, the Blueshirts are now 10-6 (.625) in Game 7 and 8-1 (.888) in Game 7 at home. Artemi Panarin makes up for off-series with Rangers winner


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