NYI:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

TBL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

CGY:

0

NYR:

0

07:30 ET

VAN:

0

NJD:

0

07:30 ET

ANA:

0

DAL:

0

08:30 ET

MIN:

0

ARI:

0

09:00 ET

Rangers: Shesterkin and Lundqvist era’s mirror beginnings

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Igor Shesterkin has fortified the crease early in his career in an eerily similar fashion to how Henrik Lundqvist took the league by storm after coming over from Sweden in the mid-2000s. Even the way they always square up to the shooter and move in the crease is strikingly similar, which can be attributed to their legendary goalie coach Benoit Allaire. During the first three seasons of his illustrious career, Lundqvist was a Vezina Trophy finalist, and Igor will win it during his first full, non-COVID season.

However, the parallels are not limited to their success. Lundqvist, known throughout his Hall of Fame career as a prime-time goalie who never shied away from the big moments, struggled in his first playoff series. In the first round of the 2006 playoffs, the New Jersey Devils steamrolled the upstart Rangers’ first playoff appearance since the 1997 Conference Finals. Hank gave up six goals in his first-ever postseason start while Rangers surrendered five powerplay goals on thirteen (still want to complain about the referees this year?) of the Devil’s attempts in that game one. In those three games, he started, the Rangers scored just three total goals. Henrik finished the series with a Save Percentage of .835 and a Goals Against Average of 4.40. Everyone forgot about those early postseason struggles because The King rebounded and became one of the best clutch goalies of his era with a career Save Percentage of .961 in game sevens. He would finish his career with a playoff GAA of 2.30 and a Save Percentage of .921.

Fast forward 16 years, Marvel movies are a thing; Tiger Woods has had two comebacks from a bottomless abyss, Eli Manning won two Super Bowls, and Tom Brady has won seven. He is still playing at age 45, and Igor Shesterkins’s team has similarly let him down in his first postseason appearance. During his first four starts against the Penguins, the Rangers defensively ranked dead last out of the 16 playoff teams in Expected Goals Allowed, Scoring Chances Allowed, Slot Shots Allowed, Slot Passes Allowed, and Rush Chances Allowed.

Despite this horrid Swiss cheese defensive strategy, Shesterkin posted a .951 save percentage through the first two games of the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. All seemed right until the first period of game 3 in Pittsburgh. During that first 20 minutes, the Penguins bum-rushed the Rangers to a score of 4-1. Shesterkin gave up four goals on 15 shots and was replaced by Alexandar Georgiev for the remaining 40 minutes of play. Two powerplay goals, a bizarre deflection from behind the net, and a terrible turnover inside the blueline would lead to Igor getting pulled in game 3. Game 4 was similarly shaky for the Vezina and Hart Trophy finalist. Shesterkin would probably be the first to admit he didn’t play well in his three periods of accumulated play between games 3 and 4, but all ten goals he surrendered shouldn’t be rested on his shoulders. The defense was non-existent for large portions of his 60 minutes on ice. The number of inexcusable penalties, turnovers, and defensive zone lapses is unacceptable this time of year if you have any hopes of advancing, regardless of who is in the net.

Like the Lundqvist era, the Rangers still rely heavily on their netminder to win the series. With the return of Ryan Lindgren in game 5, the Ranger’s defense was fortified a little. The high-quality scoring chances were still there, but the volume was decreased. While this hasn’t been a picture-perfect playoff for Igor, he still has the Rangers in a position to advance should they win the next two games. If the Rangers could suppress some of the high-scoring chances they’ve given away like candy on Halloween this series, Igor will give them a chance and possibly make everyone forget about his struggles in games 3 and 4.

This week we have on the Legend himself, Bill Pidto. We discuss the broadcast, the Rangers 2nd half and do our own fastest 150 seconds on a podcast.Thanks 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 Bill Pidto
  2. Half Way There And New Segments!?
  3. Contenders or Pretenders
  4. Guest Josh Khalfin
  5. All Star Smash Mouth

Luca Perito

Born and raised in New York. I've lived in Arizona, Maryland, Delaware, and California. Love all sports. Twitter @elbigcalzonelp -- Instagram @thebigcalzone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report: Eastern Conference Contender Pursuing Forward Milan Lucic

The New York Rangers are once again set to be a serious playoff contender after falling short in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. The Rangers have a mixture of young players and veterans on their team, as they currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division. While they are finding […]

Read More

Winnipeg Eyeing Blackhawks Forward As Trade Deadline Approaches

The Winnipeg Jets have been one of the surprise teams of the 2022-23 season, as they have emerged as a top contender and one of the best teams in the NHL. The Jets are currently 32-19-1 with 65 points as they are second in the Central Division trailing the Dallas Stars by just one point. […]

Read More

Capitals Could Shop Forward At Trade Deadline

The Capitals have been a strong team this season, as they have been able to weather the injury storm all season long. Thanks to their ability to win games, they find themselves fourth in the Metropolitan Division and first in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race. The Capitals are once again looking to make a […]

Read More