Expectations are running high for Rangers star Artemi Panarin ahead of 2024 NHL Playoffs

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) skates in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers star left winger Artemi Panarin has massive expectations on his shoulders with the first round of the 2024 NHL Playoffs kicking off on Sunday. The Rangers would not have finished the regular season as successfully as they did without Panarin’s stellar play, and they likely won’t capture the 2024 Stanley Cup without him leading the way.

Rangers: Artemi Panarin is zeroed in on playoffs as the hockey world waits to see how he’ll perform this spring

The 32-year-old is intent on leaving the regular season where it belongs, in the past, and preparing for the challenges that this postseason will bring. He’s also putting much pressure on himself and his teammates to win it all, as he told of Vincent Z. Mercogliano of Lohud.com:

“We have to win the Stanley Cup. That’s not just my personal pressure,” Panarin said.

The Rangers led the NHL with a 55-23-4 record. Panarin was largely responsible for that, as he ranked fifth in the league in goals (49) and assists (71) in the 2023-24 campaign.

Only one other top-five team in the league had a top-five offensive point-scorer this season, the Florida Panthers led by Sam Reinhart and his 57 goals. That accentuates just how special of a season Panarin had.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) takes a shot against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the TD Garden
Mar 21, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) takes a shot against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Panarin is confident that his strong regular season will translate to postseason success

But special regular seasons that don’t result in championships often lose their luster. No matter, for the Russian star feels like this year’s playoffs could solidify his new benchmark as a player and a benchmark of excellence set for the rest of the league’s best contributors:

“I’ve felt that way since the first game of the year,” he said. “The atmosphere and everything has been better for me. All year, I’ve felt like I’m in a better spot.”

In order to set that standard, he’ll have to be on his A-game against the Washington Capitals in the first round. The Capitals finished as a middle-of-the-pack team in the NHL leaderboard from end to end, making their matchup against the Rangers a perfect stomping ground for Panarin to dominate early and gain rhythm.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: