Panarin Rewriting his Playoff History as Rangers Bring Winning Streak to Second Round

Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Rangers forward Artemi Panarin notably approached this season with a new look, debuting a completely shaved head for the start of the year, but the skilled Russian winger noted that a change of hairstyle wasn’t going to be enough to erase the disappointment he felt from his last season performance. “It’s probably only hockey that will help me.” Panarin was honest about his emotions coming out of a disappointing playoff stretch in the 2022-2023 season. His team was bounced in the first round, and he was held to just two assists. He knew it wasn’t good enough for his own standards, for Rangers fans, or to justify his hefty contract.  

Panarin was right, it seems hockey has helped him. The chemistry between his line with Vincent Trocheck and Alexis Lafreniere has been solid all season, and they’ve been top producers for their team. In a season when the Rangers were dominant in so many areas, a particular struggle was scoring five-on-five goals. Panarin, Trocheck, and Lafreniere were the top three even-strength scorers on the team. Panarin led with 76 even strength points, leading the team in total points, goals, and assists. Any fears that this line would slow down in the playoffs have been eased as they have 17 points through their first five playoff games.

Related Post: Opinion: Laviolette Did Wonders With the Rangers This Season

Channeling his disappointment into productivity, Panarin has written a new story for himself this season. He’s no stranger to overcoming obstacles. Undrafted, he began his professional hockey career in the KHL. Panarin was raised by his maternal grandparents in the small mining community of Korkino, Russia as the collapse of the Soviet Union impacted every aspect of life. Panarin’s childhood hockey experience looked different from most, wearing sneakers inside of much too-large hand-me-down skates that had been discarded at a local rink and gloves full of holes that had to be patched with old boot leather. He traveled, many times by bus, to practice, hiding his bus fare in secret pockets to protect himself from robbers. When he made his KHL debut at age 17 he had no idea he would eventually play in the NHL. His championship win with SKA St. Petersburg drew the attention of NHL scouts and Panarin was signed to Chicago. Finally living his dream of playing hockey in a large city, he was unexpectedly traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2017. Panarin made it clear that he had no desire to stay in Columbus once his contract was up, and signed with the Rangers organization in 2019. The Rangers have a history of unfortunate free-agent signings, so Panarin has been under a microscope from the moment he became a Blueshirt. He’s taken the pressure in stride and has agreed to hold himself to the highest standard.

This season, Panarin has achieved career-high goals (49) and points (120) totals. He set a new franchise record for his 15 game point streak to start the season. He’s been consistent, motivated, and electrifying for his team all year. He’s brought that same energy into the playoffs, as his line generated consistent offense to help the Rangers sweep the Washington Capitals. He posted his third game-winning goal of the playoffs in Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes. But he’s not finished. Much has changed about Artemi Panarin’s life since he was a child playing in piecemeal equipment, but one thing remains the same. He’s not satisfied. A KHL career and championship, an NHL contract, and personal accolades are all just steps toward the real goal. Everything Panarin has worked for has led to this season’s opportunity, the chance to win the Stanley Cup.

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

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