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It’s time for Rangers, Artemi Panarin to meet the moment in Game 7

This is the time and this is the place where these band of Rangers can make their own history and establish themselves as rightful heirs to the Henrik Lundqvist Era.

This is the night for Game 7, the Rangers and Penguins going at it one more time on Sunday under the lights of Broadway.

This is the game that has been waiting for Artemi Panarin through his whole career. This is the opportunity that is here to be seized when a special moment meets a special player.

The Blueshirts need a big night from Panarin just the way they needed big nights from Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider to keep this series alive in Game 6 in Pittsburgh on Friday. Four goals later split between the pair and the Rangers had extended this series for the second time in three days.

Panarin’s game has been unrecognizable lately. A player whom you can’t take your eyes off has morphed into a player you barely even notice. There is no electricity to No. 10’s game. There is no jump in his step. He can’t get passes through, he is having trouble handling the puck, he is double-clutching on a shot that has betrayed him.

Looking-good hockey has gone through the looking glass.

This is not-having-fun hockey.

It is impossible to believe that this is all the Rangers will get from Panarin through this tournament. It is also impossible to believe the Blueshirts will flourish if they do not get more from the winger. That might be applied to this one as the club seeks to stay alive for the third time in five days.

Artemi Panarin and the Rangers will look to beat the Penguins in Game 7 on Sunday.

Beyond the obvious, Games 5 and 6 were great for the Rangers’ collective psyche even if they were achieved against a depleted opponent. Overcoming 2-0 deficits in each validated the Blueshirts’ self-belief. This has not been pristine hockey by any means: There is an inordinate amount of chasing the puck, there are still too many extended shifts in the D-zone, and the team still does not get enough shots to the net.

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