New York Rangers beat Yotes 4-1 thanks to Igor Shesterkin’s early heroics
Igor Shesterkin decided to flip the script on a New York Rangers’ opponent by putting on a show to keep his team in it. This season, more often than not, the Blueshirts have been goalied by the opposition as was the case yesterday when Nashville’s Juuse Saros stopped 34.
Tonight, Arizona came out firing from everywhere on a Rangers’ team that looked like they were skating in quicksand after arriving home at 3 AM. The reigning Vezina winner was unbeatable early on and that allowed New York’s skaters to slow find their legs and get going.
“I like when I have a lot of shots, not like 2 or 3 shots in a period,” Shesterkin explained during the MSG postgame. “We played a team game, we blocked a lot of shots, PK was great. What was important for me was to win the game.”
Recap: Rangers 4 vs Coyotes 1
The Blueshirts obviously left their skating legs in Nashville because they were consistently a step behind on every play and it showed. By the time the buzzer sounded to mercifully end the opening stanza, Arizona had a walloping 17-4 shot advantage.
Igor Shesterkin, who was certainly rested since Jaroslav Halak played yesterday, held the fort when the Rangers needed him most.
“It was a long road trip and we started slow,” Fox said on MSG. “[Shesterkin] keeps us in most games. What he does for us speaks for itself. He’s the backbone of the team and we’re lucky to have him.”
It took a few minutes, but the Rangers finally started to get their wheels going. They also began to outwork the Coyotes with a strong forecheck and getting to loose pucks. Eventually, they would be rewarded.
Barclay Goodrow was the recipient of an awful Coyotes’ turnover that found him in the slot. The gritty forward made no fancy play with the puck and put it right on goal to beat Connor Ingram at the 15:05 mark.
Just 76 seconds later, Adam Fox stuck with a bouncing puck and snapped it by Ingram’s glove for a 2-0 lead. Filip Chytil and Artemi Panarin registered the assists.
The second period was a night and day difference from the first as the Rangers outshot the Yotes 14-9.
New York would continue to skate hard earning a power pay when Nick Bjugstad tripped Kaapo Kakko.
Despite failing to connect on the three previous man-advantages, the first unit kept dancing the puck around looking to set up Mika Zibanejad in his office. Instead of firing his one-timer, the Blueshirts’ power play goal leader snapped a shot intended for Chris Kreider’s stick that directed behind Ingram for a 3-0 lead. Fox notched the other helper.
Arizona ended Igor Shesterkin’s shutout bid with a power play goal on their 6th attempt. Ryan Lindgren hooked Christian Fischer hard into his goalie, who game up nursing his right leg.
After the Clayton Keller goal, Shesterkin was still flexing that knee. He would finish the game not showing any other discomfort.
Ryan Carpenter would give the Rangers the all-important insurance marker with a deflection in front off a Braden Schneider point shot at 11:43. It was his first as a member of the team. Jimmy Vesey notched an assist on the play.
When it was all said and done, Shesterkin was the first-star of the game in winning his 8th of the year.
“We couldn’t get our legs going but we had a two good PKs that gave us a boost,” Gerard Gallant said. “Plenty of times last year our goalie stole games for us. He didn’t need to steal this tonight but he kept it scoreless until we got going in the second half.”
- Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 of 32 shots
- Adam Fox is on a 6 game point scoring streak (3G – 7A)
- Barclay Goodrow has 4 points in his last 3 games
- Chris Kreider now has 3 PPG in his last four games
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