Igor Shesterkin still ‘our guy’ but Rangers start Jonathan Quick against Lightning

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Quick will make his third straight start when the New York Rangers host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. But coach Peter Laviolette was quick to point out that there’s no goalie controversy with the Blueshirts.

“Shesty’s our guy,” Laviolette said after the morning skate, referring to Igor Shesterkin.

“It was a tentative plan to have it that way. I do think [Quick] earned it. ‘Quickie,’ his last three games, his numbers are through the roof.”

This is a case of the Rangers taking advantage of Quick playing well and letting Shesterkin get extra work in with goalie coach Benoit Allaire. If Quick weren’t so trusted and at the top of his game, New York probably would have to keep rolling with Shesterkin, despite his inconsistent play.

“We’re in a fortunate situation where we’ve got two good goaltenders,” Laviolette said.

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Jonathan Quick starts third straight game for Rangers as Igor Shesterkin gets ‘dialed in for stretch run’

Quick, the three-time Stanley Cup champion, is 11-4-2 with a 2.35 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and two shutouts in 18 games (17 starts) this season. The 38-year-old was outstanding making 32 saves in a thrilling 2-1 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche out of the All-Star break Monday.

He even took a page from Shesterkin’s playbook and assisted on Alexis Lafreniere’s game-winning goal.

“The minutes, the games he’s come in and given us have been outstanding,” Laviolette said about Quick after the game Monday. “The majority of his games have been on point. He’s given us really quality games.”

Though Shesterkin was selected to play in his second NHL All-Star Game this season, he’s struggled to find his game on a consistent basis. The 28-year-old has an .899 save percentage, which is well off his superlative career mark of .920. His 2.86 GAA is the highest in five NHL seasons.

“This was a chance for us to work with him,” Laviolette explained. “He’s with Benny, he gets more video, more reps so he can focus on his game and get really dialed in for the stretch run.”

Shesterkin looked sharp last weekend in Toronto at the NHL All-Star skills competition and game. Of course, that’s not a great barometer of where a goalie is at. But it was good to see Shesterkin play a big role and help Team Matthews win the All-Star game.

“I mean I get to see it all the time (with Shesterkin),” Rangers All-Star center Vincent Trocheck said Saturday. “But it was cool to be on the bench with the guys and [hear] ‘Oh my God!’ over his saves. I mean, he made some insane saves today. As we all know, he does that day-in and day-out in New York. So, it was cool to see here.”

When asked after the game whether his strong play in Toronto could translate to a solid stretch run, Shesterkin was non committal.

“We’ll see,” he said.

Also to be seen is who starts in goal when the Rangers visit the last-place Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

All Laviolette would say about that was, “There’s a plan in place but we’ll see where we’re at.”

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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