NHL Playoffs: Rangers complete series comeback, and Johnny Hockey takes Flames to Round 2
The NHL Playoffs first round is complete and ended on a high note with two Game 7’s requiring OT to decide a winner.
In New York, the Rangers tied the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens for most comeback series victories with three. Artemi Panarin’s power play goal early in the first OT sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy as they roared back from a 3-1 series deficit over the Pittsburgh Penguins to advance to Round 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes. That series will kick off Wednesday in Raleigh.
The Battle of Alberta is also set fro Round 2 thanks to Johnny Gaudreau’s OT goal at the 15:09 mark. Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger was absolutely heroic in this series to take it as far as he could but the Pacific Division champion Calgary Flames were just too much in the end. The Flames and Edmonton Oilers will square off starting Wednesday.
NHL Playoffs: Rangers 4 vs Penguins 3 (OT)
Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal with 15:14 remaining in overtime and the host New York Rangers outlasted the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 Sunday night in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
With 17:05 remaining, Pittsburgh’s Brock McGinn was called for holding on K’Andre Miller after losing the puck to the defenseman.
As time wound down on the man advantage, Panarin got a cross-ice pass from defenseman Adam Fox and lifted a wrist shot from the upper part of the left circle past goalie Tristan Jarry’s glove.
Panarin’s second career overtime playoff goal sent the Rangers into the second round against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Rangers won the final three games after being down 3-1, marking their third comeback in team history from such a deficit and second against the Penguins. New York also became the first team in playoff history to record three straight comeback wins in elimination games within the same series.
“We’ve done that a few times this year trailing in the third period and winning it,” Gerard Gallant said. “We just keep working and battling.”
Mika Zibanejad scored the tying goal with 5:45 in regulation and won a faceoff from Teddy Blueger that ultimately led to Panarin’s game-winner.
“We didn’t want the season to end and this has been our team all year,” Zibanejad explained. “No matter how the game goes we stick together and good things will happen.”
New York’s Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves.
Evan Rodrigues scored a shorthanded goal and Jake Guentzel and Danton Heinen scored power-play goals for Pittsburgh, which got Sidney Crosby back from an upper body injury.
Jarry made 26 saves in his return from a broken foot.
Flames 3 vs Stars 2 (OT)
Johnny Gaudreau scored the series-winning overtime goal and the host Calgary Flames claimed a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in Sunday’s Game 7 of their Western Conference first-round series.
“It came right down to the end there in Game 7 in overtime,” said Gaudreau, the third player in Flames history to score in overtime of a Game 7. “You dream about stuff like that, scoring in a Game 7 in overtime.”NHL.com
Tyler Toffoli and Matthew Tkachuk also scored for the Flames, while goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves in an exhilarating game.
The Flames will face the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs — the first Battle of Alberta playoff meeting since 1991.
Jamie Benn and Vladislav Namestnikov replied for Dallas, but the star of the show was goalie Jake Oettinger, who made 64 saves, the second-most saves in a Game 7 loss in NHL history. Kelly Hrudey had 73 saves for the New York Islanders against the Washington Capitals in 1987.
–Field Level Media contributed to this article.