The New York Rangers need more from Artemi Panarin heading into their second round series

Artemi Panarin had a few mediocre performances in the New York Rangers first round series against the Washington Capitals. He'll need to be dominant going forward if the Rangers want a shot at lifting the Stanley Cup.
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

It may seem unneccessary to consider three points in a four-game series "underwhelming", but considering Artemi Panarin posted 120 points during the 2023-24 regular season (49 of which were goals), is it so out of the question? That, by the way, was the second largest point total in a single season in New York Rangers franchise history, with only Jaromir Jagr's 123-point campaign in 2005-06 withstanding.

But in the Rangers four-game sweep of the Washington Capitals in their first round series of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Panarin didn't quite dominate a team he should have dominated. The Capitals were one of the worst teams to make the playoffs, statistically speaking, in quite a while. The club's -37 goal differential in the regular season was by far the worst of any playoff team. The Capitals finished with a meager 2.63 goals per game during the regular season, finishing 28th in the NHL in that metric.

All of this is to say, Panarin finishing below a point per game, albeit in a short series, won't suffice in later rounds. That's not to suggest he was invisible. Panarin tallied twice in the 4 games, both of which served as game-winning goals (with the second clinching the series for the good guys). But three of his four points came via the power play, further serving the narrative that the Rangers are a team that struggles at 5-on-5 play (ranked tied for 18th in 5-on-5 goals during the regular season).

Looking ahead

At the time of this writing, the club's second round opponent has yet to be determined. The Rangers will play the winner of the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders matchup, with the Hurricanes currently holding a 3-1 series stranglehold on the Islanders.

The good news for Panarin and the Rangers is that the Breadman, as he is so affectionately referred to as, has had success against both the Hurricanes and Islanders since he joined the Blueshirts back in the summer of 2019.

In the regular season, Panarin has posted 9 goals and 20 points in 15 meetings with the Hurricanes (the more likely opponent) since the 2019-20, including a four-goal outburst on February 11th, 2023.

Against the Islanders, Panarin has logged 8 goals and 25 points in 22 games in that same span including his infamous overtime winner during the Stadium Series meeting just a few months ago.

But performances like Games 2 and 3 against Washington this past round won't cut it. Panarin recorded 0 points in those two outings, failing to fire a single shot on goal in either contest. During this past regular season, a year in which Panarin shot the puck more than he ever had in his career, notched a total of two games in which he failed to record a shot on net (one of which was against Carolina on March 12th).


His showing during the 2023 postseason still remains fresh in the minds of many Rangers faithful. The talented Russian had just 2 assists in Game 1 before being held off the scoresheet in Games 2-7 against the Devils before being eliminated.

Those aforementioned contests against the Capitals in the club's first round series serve as a reminder of Panarin's postseason woes. There will be games where he is held off the scoresheet, games where his shake-and-bake, high-risk high-reward style of play is tested. But he cannot have performances where he's kept to the outside for the duration of the game.

Not unless the club wants a crack at raising the Cup, that is.