Rangers Recall: Czar of New York dominates Hurricanes

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There are a number of superlatives you could use to describe the 54-save performance of Igor Shesterkin in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Carolina Hurricanes at the World’s Most Famous Arena. No matter which ones you choose, they will still feel inadequate as the 28-year-old turned aside a number of Grade A chances in the third period and both overtimes to help give the New York Rangers a 2-0 series lead with a 4-3 double OT win.

“He was fantastic tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette praised Shesterkin.

“When your goaltender is making those saves in overtime– when you do it in the second period, you have half the game to fight back. But in overtime, those saves have to be made and he was fantastic.”

If not for Shesterkin’s heroics late in the third period when the Rangers’ power play broke down and allowed three huge shorthanded chances in the waning minutes of regulation action, they don’t get Vincent Trocheck’s epic goal in double overtime.

“Obviously, ‘Shesty’ played outstanding,” Trocheck commented. “He kept us in the game multiple, different times.”

Now the Rangers head to Raleigh for two road games in this best-of-7 matchup with a chance to place a stranglehold on, or finish a sweep of, the series, thanks to Shesterkin’s goaltending.

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Rangers Recall: Igor Shesterkin brilliant

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After the Moscow native’s brilliant performance in Game 2, his postseason stats are up to 6-0 with an incredible 921. save percentage, and a 2.01 goals against average. He also became the only Rangers goaltender to register multiple 50+ save performances in the playoffs. The other came against the Pittsburgh Penguins (79 saves) in Game 1 of the 2022 opening round in a triple-overtime loss, a franchise playoff record.

Another remarkable stat is that Shesterkin has now played 29 straight playoff games without allowing more than three goals. New York entered the third period in Game 2 down 3-2, and he simply would not allow the puck to get by him. By stopping all 32 shots faced the rest of the way, Shesterkin backstopped the Blueshirts to their 31st comeback win of the season (regular season and playoffs combined) tying a single-season franchise record.

The Rangers certainly didn’t have their best on Tuesday, but the Garden crowd was electric with chants of “Igor! Igor! Igor!” to keep their star goalie energized throughout the night.

“It’s unbelievable feelings every time,” Shesterkin said of the fans. “Almost crying.”

There should be a good amount of fan support in Carolina, as Rangers fans travel well. However, the team will have to be better in slowing down the aggressive Hurricanes if they hope to go up 3-0 on Thursday.

Of course, it’s good to know the Czar of New York is there to save them when things go bad.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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