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Artemi Panarin’s OT goal ousts Penguins and sends Rangers into second round

Artemi Panarin is mobbed by Ranger teammates after scoring the game winning goal against the Penguins during overtime in Game 7.Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal 4:46 into overtime and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, Sunday night to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, and Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller also scored for New York, which got its third straight comeback win after trailing, 3-1, in the series. Andrew Copp had two assists and Igor Shesterkin stopped 42 shots.

The Rangers went on a power play 2:55 into overtime when Pittsburgh’s Brock McGinn was called for holding. Late in the advantage, Panarin got the puck on the right side and fired a shot from the right circle past Tristan Jarry.

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The Rangers players all mobbed Panarin along the boards in the left corner as the sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd erupted into a frenzy. New York advanced to the second round for the first time since 2017, when they lost to Ottawa.

New York will play Carolina next. The Hurricanes beat the Bruins in Game 7 on Saturday night.

Evan Rodrigues had a goal and an assist, and Jake Guentzel and Danton Heinen also scored for the Penguins, who were ousted in the first playoff series for the fourth straight year. Jarry returned in goal and had 26 saves in his first game since April 14.

The Penguins also had captain Sidney Crosby back after he missed the last game with an upper body injury sustained midway through Game 5.

Zibanejad scored on a shot from the inside edge of the left circle off a pass from Copp with 5:45 left to tie it with his third of the series — all in the last two games.

Connor McDavid boosts Oilers

Captain Connor McDavid has seen his team through to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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McDavid a goal and an assist as the Oilers got a nerve-racking 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 in Edmonton on Saturday night.

“It feels good to do it in that fashion,” McDavid said of the shutout. “There is always a lot of talk about the defensive side of the game, so for our group to step up in a big moment and play like that in a 2-0 win with [goalie Mike Smith] playing great and contributions from everyone, it feels good.”

Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick lies on the ice as Edmonton's Connor McDavid celebrates his third-period goal during Saturday's Game 7 between the Kings and Oilers.Jeff McIntosh/Associated Press

“But that being said, it is just one round. There is a long way to go here. We’re happy to move on to the second round, but that is all we did, survived another day.”

Injuries challenge Capitals

As the Washington Capitals head into the offseason after their fourth straight disappointing first-round playoff exit, the team faces more challenges than which young pieces to place around its aging core and what veteran goaltender it will look to acquire.

The banged-up Capitals also have long-term injury questions about veteran players – the biggest uncertainty being the future of Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom, 34, dealt with a nagging hip injury the entire season. He had hip surgery in 2015, but his hip issue flared up at the end of the 2020-21 season. He took the summer to rehabilitate it and missed the first two months of the season. Backstrom never looked like his true self throughout the year or during Washington’s first-round series loss to the Florida Panthers.

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Backstrom might undergo surgery this summer, which he did not do last offseason. Backstrom said Sunday his hip will “never be 100 percent” again. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said all the rehab Backstrom had to do to even play this season, including all the work he did in-season, is not sustainable next year.

“We have some decisions to make,” Backstrom said. “Those decisions aren’t finalized yet, so we’ll take it day by day.”

When asked directly if Backstrom’s hip injury could be career-ending, MacLellan avoided the question, instead saying that Backstrom was going to “explore all options.”

Winger Tom Wilson disclosed he suffered a “pretty significant” left knee injury in Game 1 that caused him to miss the remainder of the postseason. MacLellan said Wilson would not have been able to play at any point in the playoffs.

“My summer sucks now,” Wilson said.

A decision on whether Wilson needs surgery will be made in the next couple of days. If Wilson does undergo surgery, MacLellan “doubts” Wilson will have to miss the start of next season. Neither of them knows exactly what the surgery could entail.

“There are a lot of question marks,” Wilson said. “For me, I need to get back to being the player that I am. That will happen. You just want to do all the research and ask all the questions and prep before you make any drastic decisions.”

Winger Carl Hagelin, who was hit directly in the left eye with a stick blade at practice on March 1, also has an uncertain future. Hagelin ruptured the choroid in the back of his eye and underwent two major surgeries. Hagelin said Sunday he will never get 100 percent of his vision back. He will try to play again next season but has a long road ahead.

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Captain Alex Ovechkin, who had one goal and five assists in the postseason, confirmed he had a left shoulder injury that caused him to miss the final three games of the regular season. Ovechkin, who said he is flying to Russia on Monday to be with his family for the offseason, said the injury will not require surgery.