Shesterkin, Rangers dim Stars for eighth straight win

NHL: Dallas Stars at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It could have been expected — although not accepted — for the New York Rangers to have a bit of a Stadium Series hangover when things went back inside after Sunday’s thrilling overtime win against the Islanders.

But Tuesday was anything but, as the Rangers picked up where it left off at MetLife Stadium with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden to extend their win streak to eight. This is now the longest winning streak since the 2015-16 season.

Kaapo Kakko’s goal 8:23 through the second period held up as the game-winner, and Igor Shesterkin turned in arguably his best performance of the season, as two the NHL’s best but on a show over 60 scintillating minutes.

After an underwhelming game Sunday, Shesterkin — who finished with 41 saves — looked like his 2022 Vezina self against Dallas, especially in the third period when he turned in a possible Save of the Year candidate.

“I just tried to play to the end,” Shesterkin explained. “I was lucky tonight. The guys did a great job boxing people out. When the goalie sees the puck it’s easier. I want to say thank you guys.”

Seguin was alone with the puck at the top of the crease staring at what looked like an open net. Shesterkin, though, stretched his stick to stop the puck on the goal line to preserve the lead with 4:18 left in the contest.

New York Rangers 3 vs Dallas Stars 1

NHL: Dallas Stars at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York grabbed the lead just 7:46 into the contest on Adam Fox’s ninth goal of the season. After a scramble around the Dallas net, Artemi Panarin scooped up the puck behind the net and fed Fox in the slot for the 1-0 lead.

β€œI thought we battled hard,” Fox said. β€œIt helps to start with a lead. I thought we played well, 5-on-5 especially.”

Kakko’s seventh of the season doubled the advantage. His wrist shot from the bottom of the circle beat Scott Wedgewood over the shoulder to extend his point streak to five, and in the process led head coach Peter Laviolette to move him to the top line.

“It’s been awhile that I’ve been playing 4-on-4,” Kakko noted. “It was a good lane, I just tried to shoot.”

Dallas answered back just 47 seconds later on a goal from Miro Heiskanen to make it a one-goal game again. But the NHL’s highest-scoring offense was put to bed from that point on, and Vincent Trocheck closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal, his 19th of the year.

Shesterkin is now 7-2-1 in his last 10 games and is finding his groove as the season enters is final quarter.

New York likely felt it deserved more than just two goals, but Wedegwood turned in a strong performance of his own to keep the game tight. The Rangers finished with 26 shots.

With his name getting bandied about in trade rumors as the deadline approaches, the goal — as well as his overall game — could help put an end to Kakko being on the move out of New York.

Sunday was an all-time classic that the Rangers no doubt enjoyed. But it was back to business on Tuesday, and for the Rangers, it continues to be business as usual.

“Our best guy was Shesty in net tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette remarked. “He did what he had to do, and we got the win.”

The Rangers will be back in action on Thursday when they face the New Jersey Devils on the road.

Matt Calamia spent six seasons as a digital content producer and writer for the New York Rangers. Prior to... More about Matt Calamia

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