Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp a go for Rangers playoffs, Tyler Motte possible

artemi panarin new york rangers
Apr 9, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) reacts after a goal scored by New York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) against Ottawa Senators during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Rangers will have their second line healthy and intact for Game One of the NHL Playoffs when they square off against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp are good to go for the Blueshirts after being cautiously held out for the last two games of the regular season. They were injured in the team’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes late last month but could’ve returned if needed.

“They had a great practice and had no issues,” Gerard Gallant said on Sunday. “They’re as official as everybody else out there, put it that way.”

Of course, there was one player missing from practice in defenseman Ryan Lindgren. He came up hobbling in the closing minutes of the Rangers 3-2 win over the Capitals on Friday to close out the season.

“He’s fine, it’s a maintenance day,” Gallant noted. “He’ll be out there (for practice) tomorrow.”

GM 1: Tuesday, 5/3 @NYR 7PM ET (MSG, ESPN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 2: Thursday, 5/5 @NYR 7PM ET (MSG, TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 3: Saturday, 5/7 @PIT 7PM ET (MSG, TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 4: Monday, 5/9 @PIT 7PM ET (MSG, ESPN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
GM 5: Wednesday, 5/11 @NYR TBD TBA
GM 6: Friday, 5/13 @PIT TBD TBA
GM 7: Sunday, 5/14 @NYR TBD TBA

Panarin and Copp ready for playoff action

Artemi Panarin, 30, played in 75 games this season and registered 96 points. The late season upper-body injury likely cost him a chance to finally hit the 100 point mark for the first time in his career. Regardless, he did establish a new career high for points and is ready to go.

“I feel the best I have all year. I’m ready to go,” Panarin said. “Emotions are pretty high. I’m just excited.”

When the Rangers leading scorer was asked about his thought on the upcoming playoffs he stressed that teams that can control their emotions usually comes out on top.

“I think winners can control the emotions and do everything that they do before,” he added. “So I hope we can do this. I’m sure we can do this.”

Andrew Copp, 27, had 18 points in 16 games with the Rangers since being acquired at the trade deadline. He is my X-Factor for the postseason. However, it sounds like he re-aggravated the same injury against the Canes that forced him out of the Islanders game a few days before.

“I feel good, ready to go,” Copp said before acknowledging it was the same injury. “It was not a severe injury by any means, but it definitely felt like it was time to make sure everything was good for Game 1.”

Tyler Motte on the mend

tyler motte
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Motte, 27, was another trade deadline acquisition that was primarily brought in to add speed and relentless forechecking to the fourth line. His ability to kill penalties was an added bonus.

Unfortunately, the Rangers only enjoyed 9 games of the pending UFA’s work before losing him to a significant upper-body injury in a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 7.

At the 12:37 mark of the third period, Anthony Angello hit a prone Motte reaching for the puck in a bent over position. The Penguins forward could’ve let up knowing that Motte didn’t see him, but instead came in hard with his hip to Motte’s shoulder.

The hit set off a scrum and led to both teams coming together at center ice when the game ended and will likely carry over into this series.

“He knew Motte didn’t see him,” Gerard Gallant said. “He was in a vulnerable position and I think [Angello] took advantage of it. I didn’t like the hit.”

Today, the head coach gave an unsolicited update on the Motte.

“Hopefully Motte is back sometime in this round,” he said. “We’re not sure yet. He hasn’t skated yet, but he’s progressing really well. Is he going to play in this series? I’m not sure, but there’s an opportunity.”

This season, he has 15 points in 58 games (all with Vancouver.)

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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