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New York Rangers' Stars Panarin and Fox Need to Deliver in Game 6 – Hockey Writers –

The New York Rangers won their first seven games of the postseason thanks to timely scoring, excellent play on special teams, and Igor Shesterkin's stellar play in goal. However, they lost two games in a row to the Carolina Hurricanes, including a poor performance at home in Game 5 that cut their series to 3-2. The star players of this team did not succeed and in order to win Game 6, Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox must step up.

Artemi Panarin

Coming into this postseason, Panarin had seven goals and 13 assists in 30 playoff games with the Rangers. While those numbers aren't bad, he struggled defensively and his offensive production was disappointing given his exceptional regular season play since signing with the Blueshirts prior to the 2019-2020 season. He scored the clutch overtime goal in Game 7 of the team's first-round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2021-22.

Related: Rangers' Panarin & Trocheck Pursuing Playoff Redemption in 2024

This postseason Panarin has played better and has scored more important goals. He scored a power-play goal in the third period in Game 4 of the Rangers' first-round matchup with the Washington Capitals. He also scored an overtime goal with a nice deflection in the team's 3-2 win over the Hurricanes in Game 3 of their second-round matchup.

In total, Panarin has four goals and five assists in nine games this season. However, the last two games were difficult for him as he finished with one shot on goal in each and made defensive mistakes. He was minus-3 in Game 4 and minus-2 in Game 5. He let his man just Rape him and score points on a rebound when the score was tied at one in the third period of Game 5.

Panarin's performance in the last two games is similar to how he played in the postseason, which is not a good thing. Even in the tight game he was sloppy with the puck and allowed the Hurricanes to clear it from the defense. He needs to be sharper, make better decisions with the puck, and create scoring opportunities. On the power play, he needs to get shots from the perimeter and give Chris Kreider a chance to score on a deflection or rebound.

Adam Fox

Over the past two seasons, Fox has been brilliant for the Rangers as he helped lead them to a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He had five goals and 18 assists in 20 games and played excellent defense with fellow defenseman Ryan Lindgren. He also had eight assists in seven games last season and played well except for a tough Game 7 against the New Jersey Devils.

The New York Rangers need a strong game from Adam Fox in Game 6 (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This postseason, Nick Jensen of the Capitals knocked out Fox in Game 4 of their first-round series, and even though he stayed in the game and hasn't missed time, he's looked like he's not moving well at times. He's made some big plays defensively, including some tackles the last few games, but he hasn't been out there offensively. He has no goals and four assists in nine playoff games.

While Fox may not be 100 percent healthy, the Rangers need him to carry the offense. He has struggled on the power play and like Panarin, has yet to score enough goals from the spot, although he has shown encouraging signs with six goals in the past two games. He also made giveaways that allowed the Hurricanes to clear the puck with ease. You need to break out offensively in Game 6.

For Panarin and Fox Moving Forward

For the first time this postseason, the Rangers are facing a tough matchup against a very tough Hurricanes team. They played very poorly in the postseason in Game 5 as they were completely ineffective. Now they need to respond in Game 6 and will rely on Panarin and Fox to lead the way. Both are capable of being productive offensively and can shake off any frustration in the final two games if they find a way to close out the series in Game 6.

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