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Panarin beats Penguins in OT, Rangers rally to advance in Stanley Cup playoffs

Panarin beats Penguins in OT, Rangers rally to advance in Stanley Cup playoffs
Left wing Artemi Panarin (R) and the New York Rangers will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

May 16 (UPI) -- Star winger Artemi Panarin whipped a wrist shot through traffic for a clutch overtime score, leading the New York Rangers past the Pittsburgh Penguins and into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Panarin's score came 4:46 into the bonus period of the 4-3 Game 7 victory Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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"He's the guy, when it gets to overtime, [where] I said to myself that he was going to score. If we get the winning goal, it's going to be him," Rangers coach Gerald Gallant told reporters, when asked about Panarin.

"Sure enough, he made a great play."

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Rangers center Mika Zibanejad logged a goal and two assists in the win. The second-seeded Rangers, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit, will face the top-seeded Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"We didn't want our season to end," Zibanejad told reporters. "This has been our team all year. No matter how the game goes, whatever happens, we stick together and we work. We know what we have in that locker room."

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Rangers left wing Chris Kreider drew first blood when he beat Penguins net minder Tristan Jarry for a 1-0 lead 7:36 into the first period. Penguins winger Danton Heinen scored on a power play with 1:09 remaining in the period to tie the score. Fellow winger Jake Guentzel gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead with another power-play goal 10:18 into the second.

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Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller tied the score with a goal about a minute later. Center Evan Rodrigues gave the lead back to the Penguins with a shorthanded score six minutes later.

The Penguins held the one-goal lead for most of the third period. Zibanejad then forced overtime with 5:45 remaining. Center Andrew Copp stole the puck from the Penguins defense on the right flank to spark that score. He then passed to Zibanejad on his left.

Zibanejad finished the play with a slap shot into the top of the net.

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Panarin followed with the game-winner. Defenseman Adam Fox and Panarin passed the puck back and forth above the circles to start the final sequence.

Panarin then received the final pass of the play and held the puck on his right. He then crushed a wrist shot, which snuck through a crowd of defenders and found a small gap between the right post and Jarry's glove side.

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Jarry recorded 26 saves for the Penguins. Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin totaled 42 saves. Rodriguez logged a goal and an assist in the loss. Copp assisted two of the Rangers' four goals.

The Rangers will face the Hurricanes in Game 1 of another best-of-seven series at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The winner of that series will battle the No. 1 Florida Panthers or No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals.

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