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Artemi Panarin’s quiet playoff streak becomes a question for Rangers

It’s not just Artemi Panarin who is to blame for the Rangers’ lack of performance over the last two games.

But after making a strong impression in the second-round series with two game-winning goals and four assists in the first three games, Panarin’s impact was noticeably absent in Games 4 and 5, in which he did not only made two shots and was on the ice. for four goals at five against five.

“I was thinking about their line, I thought they were working in Game 4,” Peter Laviolette said Tuesday. “It is difficult to comment (Monday) evening. It’s just that we weren’t good. But I didn’t see anything special (with him).

Rangers left winger Artemi Panarin tries to keep the puck away from Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jalen Chatfield. JASON SZENES FOR THE NEW YORK POST

The line of Panarin, Vincent Trocheck and Alexis Lafrenière was responsible for just one high-danger chance in Games 4 and 5, according to Natural Stat Trick, despite Lafrenière’s excellent individual performance in the first.

Panarin, whose regular season was good enough to merit consideration for Hart Trophy votes, appears to have put a tough performance in last year’s playoffs behind him along with the rest of the Rangers.

But as the Hurricanes clawed back to make it a 3-2 series after trailing 3-0, with Game 6 in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday, the door opens to uncomfortable questions on that front.

“There are unique players in the game — and he’s one of them — they can be nonexistent and then they finish the game for you,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. , about Panarin. “And they have this unique ability. Every time he’s on the ice, he’s noticed and he’s a threat as far as I’m concerned. You feel it.

“I think maybe we’ve done a good job just being aware of that. As we know, when he’s on the ice, you better be tight and I think that’s maybe part of the success we’ve had. “We saw it in the one game. You give it a few feet and it’s in your net. That’s what this kind of player can do for you.

Although Blake Wheeler returned to contact practice after suffering a right leg injury in February, Laviolette didn’t seem inclined to consider the forward for a return to the lineup anytime soon.

“We’re working on upgrading it and that’s where it is right now,” Laviolette said. “So he’s been going full throttle in training, but as you’ve seen, he’s only just gotten to this point and so we want to make sure he’s able to be successful.”

Blake Wheeler (red jersey) is back after injuring his right leg in February. JASON SZENES FOR THE NEW YORK POST

Jacob Trouba has been named the recipient of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. Getty Images

Jacob Trouba was named the recipient of the NHL’s Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is given “to the player who demonstrates strong leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and who plays a leading role in the development of its community. the game of hockey.

Messier selects the winner after interviewing team and league personnel for a list of candidates. Trouba is the first Ranger to win this award since its inception in 2007.

The defender and his wife, Kelly, have raised more than $160,000 this season for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation, primarily through sales of his artwork.

Neither the Rangers nor the Hurricanes held practice Tuesday.

New York Post

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