Rangers go with Keith Kinkaid against Penguins as Igor Shesterkin returns to practice

Feb 8, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers prepares to play against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on February 08, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers vs Penguins: Do the Blueshirts want to be in the playoff mix? If so they are going to need a top notch defensive effort and timely scoring against the Pens tonight.

Rangers: 10-10-3 (23 pts)
Penguins: 14-9-1 (29 pts)

(6:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network)

Rangers vs Penguins: Keith Kinkaid set to start

I will have to admit that starting Kinkaid is a bit of a shocker for me. It’s great that David Quinn wants to give the 31 year-old goalie a vote of confidence, but if they lose and Kinkaid gives up some bad goals the songbirds will be out in force tonight.

Kinkaid was solid in relief and his career numbers against the Penguins are solid. In 12 games he has a 6-3-2 record with a .911 SV% and a 3.06 GAA. Also in his nine appearances his record is 6-1-1 with a 2.53 GAA and .923 SV%.

Let’s see how it goes.

Igor Shesterkin back at practice

Igor Shesterkin
Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s some good news for Rangers fans – Igor Shesterkin was back at practice today.

The injury against the Devils looked much worse than it was. However, this is the second groin issue he’s had in his young career and the third lower-body injury.

He was sidelined early last season with an ankle injury but came back strong. Everyone is well aware of the misfortune of the car accident he and Pavel Buchnevich were involved in. However, in the bubble Shesterkin suffered a groin injury during his half of the exhibition game against the Islanders. Looking back it seemed to happen on a goal where he exploded from his left to right. That’s the same move where he went down against the Devils.

It’s concerning because groins are a fickle thing for a goalie. As someone who has been following the game for a long time, I’ve seen plenty of goalies have repeated groin injuries in their careers. We don’t have to look too far for an example as Mike Richter certainly had his issues much later in his career. The concern is that this is already happening for Igor at 25.

Pre Game Notes

  • All-Time vs Penguins: 131-115-23-16 (73-54-9-8 at home; 58-61-14-8 on the road)
  • Since Feb. 18, the Rangers are tied for seventh in the NHL in wins (six), rank third in the NHL in goals per game (3.56), and are tied for first in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency (93.3%).
  • The Rangers have earned a win in the game immediately following each of their last three losses, dating back to their loss on Feb. 16 vs. New Jersey.
  • The Rangers have outscored their opponent on special teams in nine games in 2020-21 and have posted a 7-1-1 record in those nine contests.
  • New York is tied for third in the NHL in power play opportunities per game in 2020-21 (3.65).
  • The Rangers were 3-for-3 (5:56) on Mar. 7 at Pittsburgh.
  • The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 14 of their last 16 games (50-for-53; 94.3%), including eight of the last nine games (28-for-30; 93.3%) and each of the last six games (13-for-13).

Notes courtesy of the NYR

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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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