This is the time and place for this group of Rangers to make their own history and establish themselves as the rightful heirs to the Henrik Lundqvist era.
This is the night for Game 7, with the Rangers and Penguins competing again on Sunday under the bright lights of Broadway.
Artemi Panarin has been waiting for this game his whole career. This is the chance to seize when a special moment meets a special player.
The Blueshirts need a big night from Panarin, just like they needed big nights from Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider to keep that streak alive in Friday’s Game 6 in Pittsburgh. Four goals later, the pair parted and Rangers had extended that streak for the second time in three days.
Panarin’s game has been unrecognizable lately. A player you can’t take your eyes off of has turned into a player you hardly notice anymore. Game #10 has no power. There is no jump in his stride. He doesn’t get through, he has problems with the puck, he doubles on a shot that gave him away.
Good looking hockey has passed through the looking glass.
This is no-fun hockey.
It’s impossible to believe that this is all the Rangers will get from Panarin through this tournament. It’s also hard to believe the Blueshirts will thrive unless they get more from the winger. That could apply to this case as the club tries to stay alive for the third time in five days.
Beyond the obvious, Games 5 and 6 were great for the Rangers’ collective psyche, even when won against an exhausted opponent. Overcoming 2-0 deficits in every game confirmed the Blueshirts’ confidence. This is by no means pristine hockey: there is excessive chasing behind the puck, there are still too many extended shifts in the D-Zone, and the team still isn’t getting enough shots on goal.
But in the playoffs, there’s the same resilience that Rangers have in the regular season. There is the same trust factor. There’s the goalkeeper.
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The blueshirts can’t worry about who will or will not be in the Pittsburgh lineup. They can’t settle for whether Sidney Crosby fits. There’s no worry about whether No. 1 Tristan Jarry will return to the nets for the first time since breaking his foot in a win over the Islanders on April 14.
This is about the Rangers, who have shown a lot more bite since Ryan Lindgren got back into the fray in Game 5 after missing three games with a lower body injury he sustained or aggravated in the opener with three overtimes. These were the best two games of Lindgren’s season. It is no coincidence that Adam Fox increased his game with the number 55 on the left.
Kreider helped Rangers become the first and only team in NHL history to overcome 3-1 series deficits in consecutive years, making the comeback first in 2014 against the Penguins with Game 7 on the road and then the following year against the Capitals with Derek Stepan picks up the overtime winner in Game 7 at the Garden. This Zen-like goalscorer with 52 goals (plus four more in this streak) can offer wisdom on what it takes to complete the comeback.
But No. 20 can also warn against taking ice cream home with you for granted. The Rangers felt so confident coming to a Game 7 at the Garden against Tampa Bay in the 2015 Conference Finals after winning Game 6 away. That’s what these teams did. They were. They came from behind in several series. They won Game 7s. They won Game 7s on Broadway.
In fact, starting in 2012, Rangers had gone through that Caps streak in 2015 6-0 in game seven behind Henrik Lundqvist and 4-0 at the Garden. They seemed invincible. Until they were knocked out 2-0 by Lightning in that crucial game.
Lundqvist Rangers went 15-4 in potential elimination games in those four years. The Shesterkin Rangers are 2-0. They need one more to pull this off and put their names alongside Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal.
The Blueshirts made it here when less than a week ago it seemed unlikely. While this is better than the alternative, it’s still close to So What? and nowhere. Rangers have found their base but have yet to deliver their best game. You will need that in this one. You will need it from Panarin.
The moment has come. It’s time for the Rangers to face him.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/14/its-time-for-rangers-artemi-panarin-to-meet-the-moment-in-game-7/ It’s time for Rangers, Artemi Panarin, to hit the moment in Game 7