Artemi Panarin was once again a master with the puck on his stick last night. He collected a goal and two assists to give him four points in the two games since his return. The Breadman was asked about his leave of absence and he gave a brief statement to the press.
Artemi Panarin addresses allegations for the first time since leave
Andrei Nazarov his former KHL coach alleged that Panarin was involved in an assault against a young female that he claimed was paid to go away. Since those allegations were made many of Panarin’s former teammates spoke out in his defense and stated that incident did not happen as described. According to multiple testimonies there was no assault.
“It’s probably not the time to discuss it right now,” Panarin explained. “I have nothing to hide and I will address everything after the season but right now the focus is on the game.”
As for the game, the Rangers were in a hole 2-0 early after the first period. However, they showed resiliency and came back to take a 3-2 lead in the second period thanks to Panarin. He scored a goal and two assists in the second stanza, but unfortunately a late Flyers PP goal had them heading into the third period knotted at 3.
Rangers let down by PK and Keith Kinkaid
Kevin Rooney gave the Blueshirts a 4-3 lead early in the third period but they couldn’t hold on. Shockingly, the Rangers were done in last night by their PK which gave up both the tying goal late in the second and in the third. Keith Kinkaid also did not have his best game since joining the team from the taxi squad.
The 31 year-old net minder was forced to move laterally a lot against the Flyers and seemed to be a little off his angles all night. He let in five on 30 shots but his unforced error in OT handed the Rangers a loss when they desperately need the extra point.
In fairness, he wasn’t entirely to blame as Panarin admitted he took a risk trying to chip Kinkaid’s pass behind a streaking Jakub Voracek. Still, Kinkaid needs to recognize that and not force a long distance pass to Panarin in the first place.
Rangers vs Flyers had positive signs
It wasn’t all gloom and doom, because there was a lot of positive takeaways last night. Tarmo Reunanen stepping in for Adam Fox and picking up a gorgeous primary assist being the biggest one. Then of course there is Artemi Panarin. He is the straw that stirs the drink and once Igor Shesterkin gets back they should be a blessed to make a run.
“You can see our lineup just looks totally different when he’s in there,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “We’re just a much more balanced team. You add a player of that caliber into your lineup, you’re a lot more dangerous, your whole team feels better about itself. He certainly has given us that jolt in the two games he’s played.”NHL.com
Finally, the prettiest goal of the night was scored by Julien Gauthier. The 23 year-old now has four points in his last five games and is really elevating his play. His skating speed is becoming more and more evident as he hit 24 MPH on his goal last night. He’s also using his size to drive to the net and it’s making a difference.
One note of concern, he was flagged for six minutes in penalties last night for careless use of his stick. His double minor in the third period allowed the Flyers to tie the game and eventually win it in OT.