This place is where the Rangers can create their own history and be recognized as the rightful heirs of the Henrik Lundqvist Era.
This is Game 7, with the Rangers and Penguins battling it out one more time under the bright lights on Broadway.
This game has been a waiting area for Artemi Panarin throughout his entire career. This is an opportunity to seize when a special moment comes along with a special player.
The Blueshirts require a big night by Panarin, just like they needed big nights by Mika Zibanejad to keep the series alive in Game 6 in Pittsburgh . The Rangers and the pair had scored four goals to extend the series.
Panarin has become a completely unrecognizable game. An ex-player who you couldn’t look away from has become a player that you barely notice. There is no electricity at No. 10’s game. He has no energy. He is unable to pass through, he has trouble handling the puck and he double-clutches on a shot that has been betrayed.
Looking good hockey has been through the looking glass.
This is not-having fun hockey.
It is hard to believe that this will be the only tournament Panarin gives the Rangers. If they don’t get more from Panarin, it is impossible to believe that the Blueshirts will prosper. This one is a case in point as the club tries to keep alive for the third consecutive day.
Beyond the obvious, Games 5 and 6 were great for the Rangers’ collective psyche even if they were achieved against a depleted opponent. The Blueshirts’ self-belief was validated by their ability to overcome 2-0 deficits in each game. It hasn’t been perfect hockey. There are too many long shifts in D-zone and there is still too much chasing of the puck. The team doesn’t get enough shots at the net.
But the playoffs have the same resilience that the Rangers displayed during the regular season . The trust factor is the same. The goalie is also important.
The Blueshirts don’t have to worry about who will be in the Pittsburgh lineup. They cannot become consumed with whether Sidney Crosby will suit up. They don’t have to worry about No. 1 Tristan Jarry will return to nets for the first time since sustaining a broken foot in an April 14 victory over the Islanders.
This is about the Rangers, who have shown a lot more bite since Ryan Lindgren rejoined the fray in Game 5 after missing three games with a lower-body injury he sustained or exacerbated in the triple-overtime opener. These two games have been the best of Lindgren’s season. Adam Fox, who is probably not coincidentally, has raised his game with No. 55 on his left.
Kreider was here when the Rangers became the first and only team in NHL history to overcome 3-1 series defi