Artemi Panarin earned some redemption on Sunday. Becoming the latest in a long line of Game Seven heroes as the New York Rangers dramatically defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Blueshirts made life difficult for themselves during the First Round. Twice finding themselves in a hole only to climb out of it and advance to the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first period since 2016-17.
The Rangers got on the board first with Chris Kreider’s seventh goal of the playoffs. But the Penguins took a 2-1 pointer into the second period courtesy of two power-play goals from Danton Heinen and Jake Guentzel.
K’Andre Miller’s first career postseason goal tied the game before Evan Rodrigues’ shorthanded goal put Pittsburgh back in front. You had a sneaking suspicion that their superior playoff experience would be the difference.
As they’ve shown throughout this series, the Rangers don’t go down without a fight. After Mika Zibanejad tied the game at 14:15 in the third period. Panarin played hero and achieved the game-winning goal in overtime to help the Blueshirts eliminate the Penguins and advance.
And we’ll kick off our takeaways section with a look at the crucial component that has fueled the Rangers’ postseason success thus far…
Fight to the very last second.
That has been a theme for the Rangers throughout the playoffs, and it will likely continue that they have no idea when they are being outplayed.
The Rangers had to come back from a 3-1 deficit in their series against the Penguins in Games 5, 6, and 7. After coming behind, they did it by becoming the first club in Stanley Cup Playoff history to win three consecutive elimination games in the same series.
That should tell you everything you need to know about this team’s makeup. Also, it’s a good sign for the future, given how tough things are going to get.
Game Seven was likely a microcosm of the Rangers’ entire season. They had to withstand body punch after body hit, falling behind 2-1 and then 3-2, with the Penguins, given their recent history, well-versed in grinding out games in the playoffs.
However, as they have done in the past. They refused to give up and hung in there, with Mika Zibanejad’s tremendous shot late in the third. Tying the game and demonstrating that getting pucks on the net is always the proper thing to do.
The rest of the narrative is well known
Artemi Panarin had his most promising game of the series with the game-winning goal in overtime, capping an astonishing comeback and emphasizing that team will not be taken lightly in the playoffs.
As skilled as his players, Head Coach Gerard Gallant has instilled. Toughness and grit in the locker room that is paying off. Also, that vital ingredient could prove to be an unstoppable weapon that propels the Rangers to a deep, deep playoff run.
Because no matter who they face, they won’t go down without a fight. Also, it could be difficult for any team in a best-of-seven series to crush that energy and never-say-die attitude.