Rangers Home Opener: Shesterkin starts; Lundkvist debuts; Blais out with injury; as team will honor Rod Gilbert

NYC covid
Rangers to honor Rod Gilbert (photo ctsy of MSG)

The New York Rangers will take on the Dallas Stars at MSG this Thursday with puck drop set for 7PM ET.

Gerard Gallant said after last night’s 5-1 loss to the Capitals that Igor Shesterkin would get the call in goal. Today, the team announced that Nils Lundkvist will make his NHL debut in place of Jarred Tinordi and Julien Gauthier will step in for Sammy Blais.

The rugged forward was throwing his body around plenty last night and is apparently day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per Colin Stephenson.

Rangers vs Stars Preview

Shesterkin will start his first game of the new season. The 25 year-old goalie made 35 appearances last season, winning 16 of those games. He was tied for 7th in the NHL in SV% (.916), and 11th in GAA (2.62) for all goalies having played at least 25 games. When you use that same minimum games played among rookies, Shesterkin was the top backstop in SV% and ranked second in GAA to only Dallas Stars netminder Jake Oettinger (2.36).

Nils Lundkvist was named the top rookie in training camp and will now make his NHL debut. Last season with Lulea in the SHL, he was recognized as the SHL’s best Swedish born defenseman by winning the Salming Trophy. He registered 32 points on the strength of 14 goals in 52 games this season. Those goals were the most from any defenseman 21 years or younger in SHL history.

The New York Rangers signed the 2018 first round draft pick (28th overall) on June 3rd.

Rangers to honor Rod Gilbert

The Blueshirts will be honoring Rod Gilbert tonight. All fans in attendance will receive a beautiful Mr. Rangers tee-shirt.

Rangers opening night
Rod Gilbert tee-shirt for opening night. (Photo ctsy MSG)

Per MSG:

Additionally, during pre-game warmups, Rangers players will wear the white warm-up jerseys traditionally worn in the 60’s and 70’s, emblazoned with “Gilbert” and No. 7 on the back. Each player will sign their jersey, which will then be auctioned to support the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a Foundation that is very near and dear to Rod and his family.

Throughout the entire 2021-22 season, Rangers jerseys will feature Gilbert’s No. 7 patch.

Enjoy the game!

NHL: Senators sign Brady Tkachuk

At the 11th hour, the two sides come to terms. Read more.