Rangers’ Shesterkin Is On His Way to Righting the Ship

Photo by Amanda Cain/NHLI
Photo by Amanda Cain/NHLI

It has been written about many times before on this site, but New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin has had an up-and-down season.

As of this writing (Wednesday, February 21), Shesterkin, 28, is 23-12-0-1 with a 2.79 goals against average, a .904 save percentage, and one shutout. While that win total is solid, both his goals against average and save percentage numbers are not what we are used to seeing from him.

There have been times this year when he has not played with a lot of confidence, has allowed soft goals, has been beaten cleanly, and has beaten himself up either after giving up a goal or losing a game. It is those last two things that, as a goaltender, I think, have impacted him the most this season.

Shesterkin puts a lot of pressure on himself to be perfect every game. While it is a nice goal to have, it is simply not realistic, and once he realizes that, he should be able to get back to being an elite goaltender on a full-time basis.

With all of that said, however, it looks like “Shesty” is starting to get into a groove. He has won four straight starts, picked up a shutout in one of those starts, and has stopped 134 of the 143 shots over that span.

He was especially good in his team’s 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, February 21st. He made 41 saves, several of which were of the spectacular variety, and he looked like the Shesterkin of old the whole game.

Shesterkin came up with his best save of the game with less than five minutes to go in the third period. He first stopped a deflected shot by Stars forward Tyler Seguin from the point, and then, during the same flurry, he stopped Seguin by reaching across the crease with his blocker to stop a shot from going into the empty net.

On that particular play, Shesterkin showed that when he is on his game, he will battle for every puck until the end. He mentioned as much after the game to NHL.com writer Dan Rosen.

“I have to give him a good dinner right now,” Shesterkin said jokingly. “I just tried to play it until the end. If he goes high, it will be a goal. I was lucky tonight.”

After the game, Stars head coach Pete Deboer spoke to Dan Rosen about how well Shesterkin played and how he kept the Rangers in the game.

“Our guy was pretty good, too, but that was elite goaltending for sure,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “[Tyler] Seguin and [Jamie] Benn both point blank at the end. We had a few there. You have to give them credit, he was really good, but you know that going in. You know he’s one of the best in the League, so you’ve got to get some more traffic, you’ve got to make it more difficult on him and find a way. But we created enough chances to score more than one goal tonight.”

Despite giving up five goals, Shesterkin was also good on Sunday afternoon, February 18th in his team’s 6-5 overtime win over the New York Islanders at MetLife Stadium. He made 36 saves and was really good in the second period when the Islanders were pushing to blow the Rangers out of the water.

Then, last Monday against the Calgary Flames, he picked up his first shutout of the season by stopping all 29 shots he faced. It was another close game and one that Shesterkin had to do everything he could to keep his team in the game.

All Shesterkin needs to do now is keep up his fine and steady play between the pipes for his hockey club. Should he do so, it could end up paying huge dividends come April and beyond.

In this week's episode we talk about Schnieder, Lindgren's future with NYR, and with Drury seemingly done with off seaon moves the outlook of this team.How 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. Running it Back
  2. Guest Will Wright
  3. There's more to come……….Right ?
  4. Guest Colin Stephenson
  5. Guest HockeyStatMiner

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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