Igor Shesterkin rebounded with perfect February for Rangers

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

In case there was doubt, New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin reminded everyone in February why he’s among the best in the world at his position. After slumping in January, Shesterkin was undefeated this month and regained his Vezina-winning form.

In the month of February, Shesterkin was a perfect 7-0-0. In those seven games, he recorded a .953 save percentage, 1.72 goals against average, one shutout, and had five straight games with 30 or more saves. With Shesterkin in this form, New York should be able to handle nearly any team during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Of course it’s nice, good,” Shesterkin explained. “I hope February will continue into March.”

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Igor Shesterkin returned to top form for Rangers in February

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

To start the month Shesterkin earned an overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks, when he allowed three goals and was still sorting out his game. Following that, Shesterkin earned a shutout against the Calgary Flames, which provided a much-needed boost of confidence.

In the Stadium Series against the New York Islanders, Shesterkin let up five goals, but was also a big part of the dramatic comeback as he made some incredible stops in the second and third periods. Since that emotional win, Shesterkin has been lights out.

In his past four games, Shesterkin has allowed four goals, one in each game. This recent level of play has been reminiscent of his Vezina-winning campaign in 2021-22. His numbers throughout the past four games have been nearly perfect.

Against the Dallas Stars, Shesterkin made 41 saves with a .976 save percentage in the 3-1 win. This was arguably one of his best games of the season, highlighted by a diving paddle save on Tyler Seguin.

He followed that up with 39 saves and a .975 save percentage in two consecutive games, a 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils and a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Each was an important divisional game, where New York was able to come away with a win and tie the franchise record for the longest winning streak at 10 games.

To close out his stellar month, Shesterkin helped the Rangers get revenge on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who ended their win streak Sunday. In the rematch Wednesday, he made 30 saves and posted a .968 save percentage in the 4-1 victory.

“Really good, he made a lot of big saves tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette said following the win against Columbus. “Early on he had to make a couple of big saves off of a breakaway or partial breakaway. He was really good.”

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Igor Shesterkin, Rangers look to close out season strong in March, April

As Shesterkin said himself, his fine play needs to continue into March. The Blueshirts have a tough slate of games next month, 13 total, and will need their goaltending to remain at a high level. As the month goes on, each game will hold more weight in terms of playoff implications and, with that, more importance.

After dipping below a .900 save percentage at one point this season, Shesterkin has bounced back to a respectable .911, with a GAA of 2.65, thanks to his improved play over the last month. His current stats have him tied for 14th in the NHL in save percentage and GAA, sixth in wins, and 10th in saves.

It is a great sign that Shesterkin is not letting one bad month define his season. In fact, he responded to the poor month with one of the best stretches of his career. If the Rangers are going to finish strong this season, they are going to need this level of play to continue from their No. 1 goalie.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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