Rangers ‘Artemi Panarin’ and Vincent Troshek ‘getting better and better’

Gerard Gallant didn’t utter words Thursday night when he spoke about Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck, two-thirds of the line who the Rangers coach believes should contribute more than he did.

Their chemistry is “getting better and better” after the Rangers lost 3-1 to the Bruins on Thursday, Gallant said. The second line was sufficient on offense, but Gallant said it required “too much” on defense. They should produce Panarin and Trocheck.

And then came Gallant’s words: “They should have scored three or four goals tonight, but they could have given up four or five goals just as easily. That’s not what coaches want.”

With the Rangers now past the midway point of the season, and third in the Metropolitan Division with 57 points, their season-long conundrum over what combination to use on the second line — and what to do with Panarin and Troschek, once a promising duo — continued. Panarin have scored one goal in their last seven matches, while Troschek has only scored once since the calendar flipped to 2023.

Vincent Troschek needs to take a step forward in his defence.
Robert Sabo

Their struggles, particularly on defence, have sparked talks about which group to try next – including Philip Chittell, The Post’s Larry Brooks suggested – but so far there is no resolution. The Rangers allowed scoring chances and individual men pushed to the point where the second-year head coach began to include other players, like Jimmy Veese on Thursday, to find a combination that worked.

Troschek and Panaryn finished -2 ​​and -1, respectively, against the Bruins, and were on the ice together for Boston’s first goal. At that time, Rangers could not clear the ball along the boards, as the ball was rolled to the other side and Pavel Zacha took a shot from David Craigie.

Troshek was also skating when the Bruins scored their second goal during the second period. At that time, he left space for Patrice Bergeron, who fired a shot into the goal of Igor Shesterkin.

At first, as the season slowly progressed through its first and second months, the chemistry issues between Trocheck and Panarin appeared to be contained to just one finale. “We don’t score enough five-to-five,” Panarin told The Post’s Mollie Walker in November, which he worries about.

New York Rangers left winger Artemi Panarin (10) scores during the second period when the New York Rangers play the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, January 15, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York.
Aretemi Panarin should start producing while playing in the left wing position.
Robert Sabo

“But then again, if you’re not worried about hockey, you probably won’t find a way,” Banarian said during that month’s Westbound Rangers trip. “We’re trying to find ways, which is why I’ve been watching [film] And all these things. Try to see what we can do better. I hope it’s time for us. We’ll find him someday.”

That should have come a lot sooner. In his introductory press conference after Troschek signed a seven-year, $39.375 million deal going into the 2022 season, he and the Rangers shared their insights on the 29-year-old who would line up next to Panarine as the number two. It represented an opportunity that Troshek said “I’ve never had in my career,” but said something “that everyone would dream about.”

This bonding with Panarin, as well as reuniting with Gallant as his trainer, has been selling Troshik points. And in just the second game of the season against the Wild, their potential was shown. A pass from Trocheck to Alexis Lafreniere ended up on Panarin’s stick for a goal to close out the first half. In the third period, after Marc-Andre Fleury had an initial shot saved, Panarin hit an icy cross to Troschek for a one-run that fell into the net.

The duo has continued to get opportunities to skate alongside each other in the months since, opening about two-thirds of the Rangers’ 48 games in the same unit. However, the third member of their line has alternated between Lafreniere, Barclay Goodrow, Julien Gauthier, Vitali Kravtsov, Kaapo Kakko, Sammy Blais, and Vesey at various points this season, according to Natural Stat Trick.

But after some consistency with Kravtsov since the start of the new year, the recent pivot running back to Vesey midway through the game against the Bruins has started the mixing process again.

He said of his second line: “They create offense, they get good chances, but we’re not going to beat good teams if they keep getting a chance for them, a chance for us, two for them, one for us.”

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