The winner in five of the eight series of the first round of the Stanley Cup was determined in the seventh game. This fate did not bypass the conflict between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The decisive meeting went to overtime, where the main character was Russian striker Artemy Panarin, who threw the puck and led his team to the next round, where the Carolina Hurricanes were waiting for the club from New York.
The series between the Rangers and Pittsburgh was hot and the Blueshirts were on the brink of failure after game four – the Penguins won three of four games and were close to winning game five. However, the Rangers managed to turn the tide of the battle and level the score in the series. In the seventh game, both teams attacked, which affected the game – no one planned to give up and the three main periods ended with a score of 3:3 and the Blueshirts were able to level the score six minutes before the final siren.
Artemy Panarin didn’t stand out much this series, despite scoring in four of the six games before the decisive game. In the seventh game in regular time, the Russian striker also failed to prove himself, but he shone in extra time, bringing his team an important victory and advancing to the next round.
Panarin transformed most of his team – he received a pass from Adam Fox and sent the puck into the Penguins rook, ending up in the right starting circle. Thus, the New York club advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup for the first time in five years.
The forward became the third Rangers player to score in overtime in Game 7 of the NHL Playoff Series. Before that, Derek Stepan scored in Game 7 of the second round against the Washington Capitals in 2015, and Stefan Matto, who scored in overtime in Game 7 of the 1994 Conference Finals, did so in 2015.
Panarin was recognized as the first star of the meeting, and in a comment after the match said that he often let the partners throw, but before that he did not use their offers.
“Great feelings. Again, our fans gave us a huge amount of energy and we thank them. Everyone is happy, let’s move on. In principle, they let me shoot from the first game, but for some reason I did not. Maybe really listen to everyone and start quitting? Quoted by Panarin, Rangers Video.
Rangers head coach Gerard Galland admitted at a post-match press conference that he was confident in Panarin’s seventh game performance in overtime.
“That guy… When he came into overtime, I said to myself, ‘I know if we score, he’ll score.’ If we score the winning goal, it will be him, ”said the expert.
Panarin was praised not only by the coach but also by his teammates. Rangers forward Jacob Truba noted the simplicity of the Russian forward, emphasizing that Panarin is part of the team and does not play a solo role.
Despite being a very talented and talented actor, he acts like a simple guy. He’s just another man, another player on the team. “He’s pretty cool for a man of this level,” Truba said at a press conference after the match.
Swedish striker Mika Zibanejad, who scored three points in this game (due to his assist in the team’s first goal in the puck, also took part in the attack that led to Panarin’s goal thanks to Rangers’ equalization in the third half), never left the stands after Russia scored the winning goal in overtime. He admitted that he had not heard a reaction.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard a louder sound in this arena than the disc from Artie. It was so loud that I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts. It wasn’t realistic,” the club’s press service quoted Zibanejad.
Panarin’s success was also covered in the media.
The New York Rangers signed Artemy Panarin ahead of the 2019-20 season for key moments like Game 7 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He did it on Sunday. Panarin joined the Rangers from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019. In a Fox News article, he signed a seven-year, $81 million contract, and star power was just what the team needed at a crucial moment.
“Artemi Panarin is a very talented setter, she is trying to prepare her teammates for the targets. She can shoot too and she was in great shape,” stressed Sports.net journalists.
There was another hero in the seventh game of this series. Russian goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, who made 42 saves in the match, saved his team in difficult situations. At the end of the series, the goalkeeper broke the Rangers record for saves – he saved his club 255 times in seven games with Pittsburgh.
This is the highest single win by a Rangers goalkeeper since the 1955/1956 season (when the NHL officially began tracking shots on goal).
At 26 years and 136 days, Shesterkin won in the first seventh game in the NHL playoff series. Thus, he became the youngest goalkeeper in the club’s history to win in the seventh game of the series in his first game. Before that, the record was held by Mike Richter, who achieved this feat at 27 years and 247 days.