Igor Shesterkin posts another shutout in 1-0 Rangers win against Hurricanes

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY SportsCredit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In, perhaps, their most important game this season, the New York Rangers went toe-to-toe on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes and came away with an impressive 1-0 win. With the victory, the Rangers now lead the Hurricanes by six points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

It was a game befitting the two best teams in their division and two of the leading contenders to win the Stanley Cup this season. The Rangers were a sliver better, extending their winning streak to three straight games, when they’ve allowed only one goal.

Igor Shesterkin was brilliant, making 28 saves and earning his second shutout in as many starts and third of the season. It’s the fourth time in his career Shesterkin earned shutouts in consecutive starts, and he’s now 9-1-1 in his past 11 starts.

“Today’s my mom’s birthday. Couldn’t play a bad game on her birthday,” Shesterkin joked postgame.

His Hurricanes counterpart, Pyotr Kochetkov, was also outstanding. He made 23 saves and was beaten only on a deflected Adam Fox shot late in the first period.

The division rivals won’t meet again this season unless it happens in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. New York won the regular-season series 2-1-0.

“Big games, real close in the standings,” Fox said. “I think we came out and did what we had to.”

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Rangers 1 – Hurricanes 0

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY SportsCredit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Despite playing the night before, a 3-1 win at home against the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers appeared to have more jump and the better of the play in the first period. They outshot the Hurricanes 11-5 and scored the only goal of the period.

That goal came with eight seconds remaining in the period after a couple straight strong shifts deep in Carolina’s zone. Fox pinched from the right point to collect the puck after Ryan Lindgren’s shot was blocked in front. Fox then fired a shot towards the net that deflected off Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei and over the goal line.

The goal was the 11th this season for Fox and was a just reward for the Rangers, who had the better chances in the opening 20 minutes. Included in those opportunities was a prime shorthanded chance for Mika Zibanejad two minutes into the game and Vincent Trocheck slipping behind his man but shooting the puck over the net a minute before Fox’s goal.

The Hurricanes tilted the ice in their favor in the second period. However, they missed several prime scoring chances with shots that were off the mark or were blocked by the Rangers.

Shesterkin stopped all 11 shots in the scoreless second period, robbing Carolina’s Evgeny Kuznetsov twice from in close and Andrei Svechnikov from point-blank range late in the period with the Rangers on their heels.

Kochetkov and Shesterkin traded brilliant saves to keep it a one-goal game early in the third period. Kochetkov first went into the splits to rob Trocheck on a 2-on-0 break with Artemi Panarin four minutes into the period. The Hurricanes stormed back the other way and Shesterkin shined by denying Jake Guentzel on his doorstep.

Two minutes later, Kochetkov stoned Jack Roslovic who skated in alone on right wing.

It was a dizzying, and exciting, sequence.

The Hurricanes goalie did it again with five minutes remaining in the third period when he stretched to make a sharp left-pad save on a Will Cuylle rocket off the rush.

Shesterkin took it from there, finishing off his 14th career shutout, and pushing the Rangers to 10-1-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets.

After an off day Wednesday, the Rangers return to action Thursday when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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