Resilience, never-ending fire and an insatiable desire to be a winning club have been at the heart of Rangers all season.
And that’s why this Rangers team was able to bounce back from a 3-1 series deficit, avoid elimination twice and then force an overtime in Game 7 on Sunday night before Artemi Panarin’s power-play goal punched their ticket to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs 4:46 into overtime to secure a 4-3 win over the Penguins in front of a packed Madison Square Garden.
This Rangers team became only the third in franchise history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the series.
This Rangers team is now the first to reach the second round since the 2016/17 season.
This Rangers team is one step closer to the Stanley Cup.
Panarin joins the likes of Derek Stepan, who scored the overtime winner against the Capitals in Game 7 of Round 2 in 2015, and Stephane Matteau, who beat the Canucks and sent the Rangers to the 1994 Cup finals with his double overtime goal Players who were OT heroes for Rangers at the Garden.
Mika Zibanejad, who scored his first goals of the series in Game 6, capitalized on the moment when Rangers lost one with 5:45 left in regulation. Rangers top line center wired the puck from the left faceoff circle past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry to end the game 3-3 and jump every Blueshirts fan in attendance out of their seats.
It didn’t matter that Sidney Crosby, who missed most of Game 5 and all of Game 6 after receiving a hit from Jacob Trouba, played. It didn’t matter that the Penguins’ No. 1 goalie Jarry was back in the net. It didn’t matter that Pittsburgh’s trade-deadline acquisition Rickard Rakell was back on the lineup.
Rangers came to win, played to win, and deserved the win.
With a 1-1 draw after a relatively even first half, Rangers dictated the pace of play in midfield but were just one goal away from the two Penguins.
Rangers handed two power plays to Pittsburgh in the first half of the second period and Jake Guentzel capitalized on Kaapo Kakko’s game violation delay on another goal that needed review – the fourth of the series. The Penguins’ top winger kicked the puck up and smacked it out of the air over Shesterkin to take the lead. It was checked for a high stick but finally confirmed at 10:18.
Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller responded just over a minute later with a long shot from the top of the zone that ricocheted off Mike Matheson’s skate and came in for the 2-2 level.
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In the last second of Rangers’ power play late in the period, Filip Chytil turned the puck straight to Penguins fourth-liner Evan Rodrigues, who put the outmanged escapee ahead with a backhand shot past Shesterkin to make it 17:24.
Jarry was introduced to his first game action since April 14 when his name echoed from the Garden crowd. With 26 saves, Jarry ended his series debut after breaking his foot at the end of the regular season, missing Games 1-6 of that series.
MSG made sure Crosby heard them too. They taunted No. 87 early and often to try to shake the penguins’ star center.
Shesterkin appeared to be locked in early, and he denied four straight Penguins shots to allow Zibanejad and Chris Kreider to leap the other way on an odd onslaught. Zibanejad fed Kreider for a tough one-timer that defeated Jarry and put Rangers on the scoreboard at 7:36.
The goal tied Kreider with Mark Messier for the second-most playoff goals in franchise history at 29, behind only Rod Gilbert’s 34 postseason tally.
On the Penguins’ third power play in the first 20 minutes, Danton Heinen scored, but play continued. The sequence was then reviewed and quickly set the goal of making it level at 1-1 just over a minute before the first break.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/15/overtime-goal-lifts-rangers-to-game-7-comeback-win-over-penguins-to-win-series/ Overtime goal lifts Rangers to comeback win in Game 7 over Penguins to win streaks