Is The Real Shesterkin Back for the Blueshirts?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Rangers and their fans are judging by his performance in his team’s 2-0 shutout win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night, February 12th, at Madison Square Garden, then the answer is a resounding yes.

Rangers’ goaltender Igor Shesterkin was magnificent in stopping all 30 shots he faced in picking up his first shutout of the season. Hopefully for he and the rest of the team, it will help set a successful course for the rest of the regular season and hopefully into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Shesterkin, 28, looked like his old self in his team’s fifth straight victory. He stopped the shots he should stop, came up with timely saves, and played with a ton of confidence between the pipes.

His confidence could not be any more evident than when he attempted to shoot the puck into the empty net in the waning minutes of the third period. Yes, he shot it wide and created an icing against his club, but he took a chance and looked unfazed that the ensuing faceoff would lead to any problems.

While it might be just one game, there were signs that Shesterkin maybe rounding into form. For starters, his ability to read plays was on point.

Shesterkin did a great job of beating the puck to the opponent’s sticks. Because he did that, he was able to set himself in a good position for not only the first shot but also the second and even third opportunities as well.

In his postgame press conference, Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters (see link to article from New York Post Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks) mentioned how impressed he was with Shesterkin’s ability to maintain his focus the whole game and get the job done.

“I thought Shesty played a heck of a game for us, especially when there was not a lot of work in the first and then you’re relied on more in the second and then the third they’re pushing in a 1-0 game,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought he was really good.”

He also did a great job of keeping his game simple. He focused on stopping the first shot, controlling his rebounds, being smart whenever he handled the puck, and he also looked very relaxed between the pipes, a feeling that has eluded him for much of this season.

After the game, Shesterkin expressed those same sentiments to reporters as he mentioned that he felt great the entire game.

“Honesty, I felt great all night,” said Shesterkin, who has won his two starts since backing up Jonathan Quick for the first two coming out of the All-Star break. “From the starting faceoff to the end.”

Lastly, Shesterkin showed both the team and its fans that he is still their number one guy. He bailed out his teammates time and time again in the second and third period, made several big saves, and did not let any pucks get behind him, something he has seen a lot of this season.

For Shesterkin, getting the shutout could end up being a big boost for his confidence. He mentioned as much to reporters after the game.

“It was an important night for me, an important shutout so I appreciate it,” Shesterkin said after the Blueshirts’ 2-0 victory over Calgary at the Garden on Monday stretched the club’s winning streak to five games. “The guys did a great job in front of me.”

This is exactly the kind of game that Shesterkin needed to get under his belt. It is now up to him to build it into something more as he and the Rangers head toward the finish line of the regular season and look to have even more success come playoff time.

Guest Jack : Playoffs on the Horizon Ranting Rangers: A New York Rangers Podcast

In this weeks episode Jack comes on to breakdown this Rangers team, with the playoffs being less then 2 weeks away.For more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest Jack : Playoffs on the Horizon
  2. All Time High Vibes
  3. Guest Josh Khalfin
  4. The Encouraging but Injury Concerning Backend
  5. Guest Tyler McGillick

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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