Artemi Panarin being swallowed up by Hurricanes defense

artemi panarin
May 18, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; iNew York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period n game one of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Rangers need their regular-season leading scorer to find a way in Game 6 as the team faces elimination.

Artemi Panarin has been the Rangers offensive catalyst ever since he signed as an unrestricted free agent back in 2019. However against the Carolina Hurricanes he’s been anything but that.

Through two games in this series, the Breadman has two assists. It’s simply not enough and the team needs him to produce if they hope to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Gallant won’t blame Panarin

Panarin, 30, led the team with 96 points (22 G – 74 A) in 75 games. For his three-year career in New York, he has 249 points (71 G – 178 A) in 186 contests. However, in these playoffs The Breadman has been limited to 9 points in 12 games.

“I can’t pick on Panarin,” Gerard Gallant said. “I thought two games ago he was our best player. He competed and played hard. There’s not much room but you can look at all our top guys. You get over it and move on but I’m not going to blame Panarin.”

Gallant really did nail it on the head because there isn’t much room out there for his offensive stars but there’s even less for Panarin.

The Hurricanes have made it a point to attack him every time he gets the puck. They are constantly cutting off his time and space so that he can’t make a play.

Panarin needs to change his game up

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Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers need Panarin to do something in these next two games, otherwise their season is likely over.

 “I try not to take as much risk as I usually take,” Panarin admitted early in this series. “It depends on the situation in the game. If you are losing a few-nothing, you have to start playing like you normally do. I would love to do some stupid s–t on the blue line, but I can’t.”

The gifted superstar also feels like Gallant’s system is too cautious but understood why the team needs to play that way.

Now is not the time to throw caution into the wind and play reckless defensively. Although, changing up his game may be necessary.

Panarin likes to be the one carrying the puck into the zone and setting up offense. That hasn’t worked at all through five games against the Hurricanes. Maybe it’s time for Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp to gain the zone and set up the plays.

That line needs a different approach and Panarin being the trigger man on some feeds will open the ice for him. It could allow him to get back to controlling play in the offensive zone and generate more offense for the Rangers.

Bottom line, Panarin can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Rangers vs Hurricanes series schedule

GM 1: 2-1 Hurricanes (OT)7PM ET(ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
GM 2: 2-0 Hurricanes8PM ET(ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
GM 3: 3-1 Rangers3:30PM ET(ESPN, Sportsnet, SN360, TVA Sports)
GM 4: 4-1 Rangers7PM ET(ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
GM 5: 3-1 Hurricanes7PM ET(ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
GM 6: Saturday, 5/28 @NYR8PM ET(ESPN, SN TVAS)
GM 7: Monday, 5/30 @CAR8PM ET(ESPN, SN TVAS)

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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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