Rangers Roundup: Artemi Panarin, Gallant talks lineup tweaks, and more

Artemi Panarin
Feb 11, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL announced on Monday that New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin was the first star of the week ending February 12.

“It’s well deserved for sure,” Gerard Gallant said after practice in Vancouver.

Panarin, who made his first All-Star Game appearance in South Florida, led the NHL with 4-5-9 in four contests to propel the Rangers (31-14-8, 70 points) to a perfect week and their fifth straight win dating to Jan. 27. He collected two assists in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Calgary Flames Feb. 6. Panarin then registered one helper in both a 4-3 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks Feb. 8 and a 6-3 win versus the Seattle Kraken Feb. 10. He capped the week by scoring a career-high four goals (including a natural hat trick that featured the game-winner) and matching a personal best with five points (last achieved March 12, 2022 at DAL: 1-4-5) in a 6-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes Feb. 11. The 31-year-old Panarin, who also eclipsed 200 career goals on Saturday (203-425-628 in 561 GP), tops New York with 16-43-59 through 53 total games this season. He also places among the League leaders in assists (9th; 43), power-play assists (10th; 19) and points (20th; 59).

NHL.com

Artemi Panarin first star of the week (2/6 -2/12)

The Breadman really won the honors with his five point performance against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday registering his first ever four-goal game.

“Four goals, first time in my life,” Panarin said. “I don’t know what happened tonight, so it’s probably my day tonight.”

In 561 career regular season games, the undrafted Panarin has 628 points. Of his points, 308 have come with the New York Rangers since joining the team as a UFA in 2019.

Gerard Gallant on line tweaks

gerard gallant
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Before Artemi Panarin exploded in Carolina, the Rangers were down 2-1 in the second period when Gerard Gallant tweaked his lines.

The head coach went back to Chris Kreider on Mika Zibanejad’s left wing citing his team was “stale. However, it was Panarin with Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey that reaped the benefits.

“You’re trying to win games,” Gallant explained. “Sometimes you want Kreider’s speed up there and the way he plays a north-south game. Bread plays an east-west game, so you change things and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t”

Gallant hasn’t been bashful about making lineup tweaks during a game. It’s hard to argue considering his team is ranked 6th overall in the NHL for points (70) and points percentage (.660).

“You know what honestly, I don’t make a big deal about the lines,” he added. “Mika and Chris have played together a long time but it’s about how we’re playing… If we’re flat, you’re going to make line changes. Coaches are going to do that.”

The Blueshirts bench boss also noted that during the course of a season injuries and suspension happen, so it’s a good thing to be familiar playing on other lines.

As far as the addition of Vladimir Tarasenko, it’s allowed him to have more flexibility with his lineup. Gallant also noted that Jake Leschyshyn has been solid since being claimed off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights.

“I like the way he’s played,” Gallant noted. “He’s played his role perfectly… What he’s doing on the fourth-line I’m happy with. He doesn’t have to score goals to show he’s a good hockey player for us.”

Leschyshyn, 23, has no points in 9 games with the Rangers and none for the season totaling 31 games.

The Rangers next contest is Wednesday night at 10 pm et on the road against the Vancouver Canucks.

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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