Panarin scores but strains groin in first preseason game with Rangers
Forward provides immediate boost to power play; injury not considered seriousby Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer
NEW YORK -- Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal but didn't finish his first preseason game with the New York Rangers on Wednesday after he sustained a mild groin strain in a 4-3 loss against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.
"More precautionary than anything," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "He should be fine."
Panarin, who signed a seven-year contract with the Rangers on July 1, finished his last shift with 6:16 remaining in the second period. Panarin's teammates said they understood why their new top forward left the game.
He had a goal on three shots in 12:59 of ice time.
"You don't want to risk it during a game like this," center Mika Zibanejad said. "He scored a goal. I think he played well. I think just the way we were starting to find our game in the second there was no need to push it, especially in the first game. I just hope he feels better."
Panarin made it 2-1 when he scored on the power play at 7:33 of the second period. It was a short side one-timer from the top of the left face-off circle off a pass from defenseman Jacob Trouba, who was acquired in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on June 17.
Video: NJD@NYR: Panarin hammers home one-time PPG
Rookie forward Kaapo Kakko, the No. 2 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, also had an assist.
It was the highlight of what was a strong start for the Rangers' revamped No. 1 power-play unit.
New York had 12 shots on goal with the man-advantage, all from the top unit, which features Kakko, Panarin, Zibanejad, Trouba and Chris Kreider. Kakko and Trouba each had one-timers that hit the crossbar during a power play late in the first period.
Zibanejad had four shots on the power play and a team-high eight for the game. Kreider and Panarin each had three shots on the power play.
"For a unit that hadn't spent much time together, if any at all, up until three days ago, they certainly found some chemistry and there was a pace to the power play," Quinn said. "So far so good."
Kakko left an impression with his strength and ability to handle the puck and move it, especially when working from the right side on the power play. He had four shots on goal (seven total attempts) in 20:50.
"It was a good start because so many chances," Kakko said. "The atmosphere was so good. Such great fans. It feels good to play hockey always and here [Madison Square Garden], it's so great."