NEW YORK – Artemi Panarin played the champs in overtime as the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 Sunday night in the series finale.
With only nine seconds left on the penalty kick for Brock McGinn, Panarin accepted a pass from Adam Fox and fired a shot into his wrist that slipped between Christopher Letang’s legs and to the left of Tristan Garry.
“Overall they let me take shots from the first game,” Panarin said after making six shots at the net in Game Seven. He had 17 shots after his first six matches.
“It’s my fault, I failed to capitalize on those shots. Maybe I should listen to everyone’s advice and take more shots.”
New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant felt Panarin would be the Rangers champion.
“He’s the guy,” Gallant said. When I went into the match in overtime, I thought, ‘I know he’ll score if we score. If we had the winning goal, it would be him.’
Rangers, who trailed 3-1 in the series, advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
“It’s a huge win for the team and for the election,” said defender Jacob Tropa. It is a performance that clearly demonstrates our resilience. We came from behind again. The slogan “No one gives up in New York” is true enough for this band.
Mika Zibanijad inserted the needle twice as Chris Kreider added a goal for the Rangers, who will now face the Carolina Hurricanes.
Igor Shesterkin had some tough moments during the series against the Penguins, but he booked a 42 save performance in Game 7.
Danton Heinen, Jake Goetzel and Evan Rodriguez responded to the Penguins, who were looking to win their first series since 2018. This is their fourth straight first-round run.
Gary, who has not played since April 14 due to a foot injury, lost four times on 30 shots from the Pittsburgh goal.
Rangers wanted a test run quickly, but the two teams started studying each other and didn’t take much risk.
Rising defensive player Braden Schneider halted an attack on his blue streak and started running 2 on 1. Zibanijad crossed to Kreider, who fired a shot so powerful and precise that Gary couldn’t do anything despite his timely move.
The penguins responded before the end of the first frame, during numerical superiority. Jeff Carter sent the disc in front of the net and Heinen was able to turn it over the Shesterkin cushion. The disc was saved by Adam Fox, but replays confirmed that she had just crossed the red line.
The visiting team took a 2-1 lead midway through the second half, and still maintained a strong hold. Guentzel showed incredible coordination as he kicked the disc with his right sled before hitting it in flight. Again, replays confirmed that Guentzel’s wand was really good below the horizontal bar.
But Rangers tied the match after just 65 seconds. Miller received the puck at the fulcrum and fired a low shot that touched Mike Matheson’s right skate before ending in the net.
Special teams once again served the penguins’ cause, but this time it was the brief unit that stood out. Rodriguez intercepted a pass from Philip Shettle and partially escaped in front of Chesterkin. Even being bullied by Miller, he put the puck into the top corner with a backhand.
As minutes ticked into the third inning, hard work by Rangers in enemy territory led to overtime play. Andrew Cobb caught the ball in the corner and noticed Zibanegad in the hole. The Swede fired a sharp bullet that thwarted my neighbor.