Igor Shesterkin blanks Flames 2-0; Rangers win fifth straight
Unless you watched the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames live on Monday night, which the Blueshirts won by a score of 2-0, anyone who catches the highlights might be confused, thinking they were watching a game from 2021-22. During that season, Igor Shesterkin edged Jacob Markström for the Vezina Trophy, and despite their well-documented highs and lows since then, both netminders put on a show at the Garden.
Shesterkin, who didn’t skate in the first two games after the All-Star Game, has now won two straight, producing a .951 save percentage over the past six periods, including 30 saves against the Flames for his first shutout this year. Meanwhile, Markström, whose name continues to pop up as a potential trade deadline target, played remarkably, stopping 29 of 30 for the loss.
“Honestly, I felt great all night,” said Shesterkin, who was the game’s first star. “If I get a shutout I’m happy, but the most important thing is wins.”
Ultimately, this game came down to one play; with the two teams still scoreless in the second period, Will Cuylle scored at 7:29 when he poked home a loose puck between Markström’s pads. Kaapo Kakko and Jonny Brodzinski picked up the assists.
New York Rangers 2 vs Calgary Flames 0
In the first period, each team had glorious scoring chances, with each netminder making highlight-reel saves. Heading into intermission, the Blueshirts held an advantage in shots 12-6 while dominating the faceoff circle.
There was no love lost between the two clubs, with Jacob Trouba setting the tone early with a blistering hit on Jakob Pelletier, forcing the 22-year-old out of the game. Then, in the second period, at 8:51, the Flames ended up with a power play opportunity after five skaters ended up in the box.
Following a Markström save, everyone on the ice grabbed a dance partner, and although there were no punches, Flames’ players Martin Prospisil and Brayden Pachal, along with Artemi Panarin, Erik Gustafsson, and Alexis Lafreniere, all went off for roughing.
After 40 minutes, the Rangers led in shot attempts 51-40 while having a significant edge in O-Zone possession, 10:19 to 7:05. By this point, both teams were unsuccessful on the man advantage. However, the Flames’ best chance to tie the game came midway through the third period when Pachal was off for hooking at 12:46.
Although it was an excellent opportunity for New York to put the game further out of reach, Calgary’s Yegor Sharangovich, a former New Jersey Devils player, caused several turnovers and got some great chances against Shesterkin, who continued to shut the door.
In the dying seconds, Jimmy Vesey buried his 12th of the year into the empty net off a turnover from Noah Hanifin to ensure a Rangers victory. After the win, New York extended their lead in the Metropolitan Division by six points over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“They were playing really well,” Vesey noted. “We’ve been stressing our defense since coming out of the break. It was a gritty win, and something to build on.”
- Shesterkin recorded his first career shutout against the Flames, his eighth different team.
- Adam Edstrom played 9:23 in his second NHL game, a decrease from 9:39 in his first contest.
- Cuylle netted his second career game-winning goal and first one since Oct. 12 (Carolina).
- Leading scorer Panarin (68 points) held pointless for the 11th time this season.
The Rangers will host the pesky Montreal Canadiens at the Garden on Thursday before having a couple of days off to prepare for their Stadium Series showdown with the Islanders on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.