Shesterskin Continues to Come Up Big for the Blueshirts

POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

After Thursday night’s thrilling 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, all anyone could talk about when it came to the New York Rangers was the outstanding play of Chris Kreider.

It was more than well deserved as Kreider, 33, had a game for the ages. With the team down 3-1 going into the third period, Kreider put the team on his back, scored a natural hat trick, and led the team to a series-clinching victory.

It was the stuff that legends are made of. Heck, with the hat trick in the third period, Kreider joined Hockey Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier as the only Rangers to score a hat trick in a period in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With all of that said, however, there is one player that people should not forget about that. That player would be Rangers’ goaltender Igor Shesterkin.

Despite giving up three goals in Game 6, Shesterkin, 28, was outstanding for his hockey club in the victory. Shesterkin stopped 33 of 36 shots and came up big to keep his team in the game and give them a chance to win it.

After his team’s electric Game 6 victory, Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters that Shesterkin more than kept his team in the game.

“You saw Igor make some monster saves as we were trying to score, as we were trying to push that game,” Peter Laviolette said after the Rangers eliminated the Hurricanes on Thursday night. “And oftentimes that happens. You loosen up or you leave yourself a little bit on the back end and you need your goaltender to make saves. I thought he made some incredible saves throughout the game, but especially in the third period.” 

Shesterkin has been one of the team’s best players in these playoffs. For starters, he has done a great job of stopping the puck.

As of this writing (Friday, May 17), Shesterkin has a .923 save percentage. That is the second-best of the remaining goaltenders in the playoffs and is the fifth-best in the league for the whole postseason.

The number of saves that Shesterkin made in Games 2 and 3 of the second round against the Hurricanes was remarkable. In those games, he stopped 99 of 104 shots, several of which were spectacular.

Secondly, Shesterkin continues to do the most important thing at this time of the year: win hockey games. With eight wins under his belt in these playoffs, that raises his career total to 21 playoff victories.

Shesterkin was a valuable member of the team in many of its victories. Whether coming up with the big save at a crucial time, slowing down the play, or shutting down offensive threats, Shesterkin did what he had to do to help his team win games and put them in the position that they are now, which is eight wins away from their first Cup in 30 years.

Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow, who scored the empty net goal to make it 5-3, told reporters after the game that Shesterkin coming up with huge saves is nothing new.

“He was huge,” Goodrow said. “He made a phenomenal save on Svechnikov. Such a hard save to make. He does it time and time again when we need him most and he’s there for us.”

Lastly, Shesterkin is continuing to show both his team and the NHL that he is great in the playoffs. As of this writing, Shesterkin is 21-16 with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

Yes, Shesterkin certainly had his critics after the team lost in seven games to the New Jersey Devils in the first round of last year’s playoffs. With that said, it certainly was not all his fault as he was 3-4 with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

With the Rangers not due to play again until next Wednesday, May 22, Shesterkin will have time to reset and prepare for his second Conference Finals in the last three years. If he continues to play the way he is now, Shesterkin might just find himself playing for the Cup in a few weeks.

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.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. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

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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