The Real Shesterkin Is Back

Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Occasionally, an NHL goaltender will have a great season, and then things will not go as smoothly the following season.

That has definitely been the case this season for New York Rangers All-Star goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Last season, Shesterkin, 27, won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender when he went 36-13-0-4 with a 2.07 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage, and six shutouts.

However, Shesterkin did not look like himself for a decent portion of this season. Pucks were finding ways to go through him, he looked frustrated, became too aggressive between the pipes, and he was actually allowing a lot of goals even though the team was still winning thanks to their offense.

Fast forward to now (Sunday, March 26), and it looks like the Shesterkin of last season has returned to the net. After his goals-against average and save percentage took a bit of a beating, he is currently 33-12-0-7 with a 2.55 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and two shutouts.

He has been very good in his last five starts as he won four of them, beat good teams in both the Pittsburgh Penguins (two) and Carolina Hurricanes, and put up the following statistics:

  • March 14th against the Washington Capitals: Stopped 28 of 31 shots in a win.
  • March 16th against the Penguins: Stopped 30 of 32 shots in a win.
  • March 18th against the Penguins: 33-save shutout win.
  • March 21st against the Hurricanes: Stopped 36 of 39 shots in a loss.
  • March 23rd against the Hurricanes: Stopped 29 of 30 shots in a win.

There are a few reasons why Shesterkin is playing so well. For starters, he is playing with more patience between the pipes.

Shesterkin is letting the play come to him. He is letting the shooters make the first move and is relying on his techniques, athleticism, and positioning to make the save.

Secondly, head coach Gerard Gallant has allowed Shesterkin to get into a rhythm. For while this season, it seemed like there was a lot of space between starts, but now, especially with points being really important and the Stanley Cup playoffs just a few weeks away, Shesterkin is starting a lot of the games and getting a lot of work in, which is very important to a goaltender, especially one like Shesterkin who likes to play a lot of games.

Lastly, Shesterkin is back to being confident. It looks like he knows that he can make the big save he needs to or steal a game as he did against the Hurricanes on March 23.

Do not look now, but with Shesterkin on top of his game and the Rangers playing their best hockey of the year, they look like a team destined for a long run in this year’s postseason.

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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