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Rangers beat Penguins in Game 7 in overtime

The only unknown was playoff experience and the ability to win on the biggest stage. They certainly have that now to go with a generous dose of confidence.

Gallant had faith in Panarin, saying after the game he felt the Russian striker, even though he hadn’t come out on top earlier in the game, would pull through. And he did, with just nine seconds left on the power play. Panarin took the puck from Adam Fox at the top of the right face-off circle, skated a few steps toward goal, then shot right-footed, beating Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry on the short side through a screen and sparking a wild celebration on the ice and in the stands.

“Honestly, they let me shoot since the first game,” Panarin said through an interpreter. “My bad, I didn’t really do those shots. But maybe I should listen to everyone’s advice now and go out and take some shots.

The tying goal came with 5:45 left in the third period after a play that angered Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson lost his helmet behind the Penguins goal after becoming tangled with Rangers forward Alexis Lafrenière. According to the rule, Pettersson either had to find his helmet and put it back on or leave the ice for safety reasons. Pettersson walked to the bench.

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh’s top defenseman, took Petterson’s place, but he skated to the net, past Jarry, and was unable to challenge Zibanejad’s shot. And if Pettersson had been on the ice, he might have helped the Penguins clear the puck. Sullivan, unsurprisingly, is not a fan of the rule.

“I think it stinks,” he said. “He has to go out. His helmet was intentionally ripped off, but that’s the rule.

For the Penguins, who were in the playoffs for the 16th straight year, the loss was particularly hard to bear because it could be the last season for their longtime core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Letang playing together. These last two can be free agents and sign with other teams.

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