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Rangers' Artemi Panarin enters COVID-19 protocol, forcing reshuffling of lines

Before taking the ice for warmups Sunday, the Rangers announced that leading scorer Artemi Panarin had entered COVID protocol along with assistant coach Mike Kelly.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said he found out a couple of hours before the game that Panarin and defenseman Patrik Nemeth (non-COVID issue) would be unavailable.

"Things happened really quick, and we were scrambling at that time,’’ Gallant said after the Rangers’ 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden.

Panarin, who has 10 goals and 26 assists in 31 games, joined defensemen Ryan Lindgren and Jarred Tinordi and penalty-killing forward Kevin Rooney on the COVID list.