Rangers Roundup: Igor Shesterkin starts, Ryan Strome still out, plus NHL Power Rankings

Mar 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save on New York Islanders left wing Zach Parise (11) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are set to take on the rival New York Islanders on Garden ice Friday night.

In goal will be Igor Shesterkin, who notched his 32 win of the season against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The Czar is 7-3-0 in his last 10 starts and has picked up at least a point in 13 of his last 17 games (12-4-1).

Shesterkin, 26, tends to struggle against the Islanders as his record is 1-5-1 with a 3.02 GAA and a .894 SV%. That includes a 2-1 loss last month.

This season, he ranks fourth in the NHL with 32 wins. His .936 SV% ranks first and his 2.11 GAA is good for second overall.

New York Rangers injury updates

Ryan Strome remains out of the lineup after suffering a lower-body injury against the Buffalo Sabres last Sunday.

“He skated earlier,” Gallant noted via the team’s YouTube channel. “He’s probably not (playing tonight). I’m not saying 100% sure but probably not.”

As for Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney, both are expected back early this month.

“They’re coming close,” Gallant said. “They’re not ready this week obviously. The next two games for sure not, but after that there’s possibilities.”

The Rangers take on the Islanders and Flyers in the next two games, which means Kakko and Rooney could return on Tuesday in New Jersey against the Devils.

Kakko, 21, last played on January 21 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was placed on IR the next day with an upper-body injury that is believed to be a wrist issue.

Rooney, 28, has 11 points in 51 games this season and has been an integral part of the Blueshirts’ physical fourth line. The upper-body injury occurred on March 2.

Daily Goal Horn’s NHL Power Rankings

new york rangers
Mar 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Frank Vatrano (77) celebrates his second goal against the Buffalo Sabres in the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

In The Daily Goal Horn’s latest NHL Power Rankings, the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers on the strength of a strong March move up the list.

 February Top Ten Teams:

  1. Calgary Flames 31-14-6
  2. Colorado Avalanche 39-10-4
  3. Carolina Hurricanes 37-11-4
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins 33-14-8
  5. St. Louis Blues 32-14-6
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning 34-11-6
  7. Toronto Maple Leafs 33-14-4
  8. New York Rangers 33-15-5
  9. Boston Bruins 31-17-4
  10. Florida Panthers 35-13-5

March’s Top Ten Teams:

  1. Colorado Avalanche 39-10-4 ⬆️
  2. Florida Panthers 35-13-5 ⬆️
  3. New York Rangers 33-15-5 ⬆️
  4. Boston Bruins 31-17-4 ⬆️
  5. Carolina Hurricanes 37-11-4 ⬇️
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins 33-14-8 ⬇️
  7. Calgary Flames 31-14-6 ⬇️
  8. Toronto Maple Leafs 33-14-4 ⬇️
  9. Tampa Bay Lightning 34-11-6 ⬇️
  10. Minnesota Wild 41-20-5 (New)

New York Rangers: The Rangers moved up despite a difficult March schedule where they played 9 out of 15 games on the road but still managed to go 11-4-0. In the process they took down the Penguins twice, as well as the Lightning and Hurricanes. New York also made several key trades that are paying handsome early dividends with Frank Vatrano and Andrew Copp.

Playoff Odds and Other Power Rankings

Per the website MoneyPuck, the New York Rangers chances of making the playoffs has jumped up since last month from 98.2% to 100%. Some additional odds have them a 4.7% to win the Metro, and a .5% chance of winning the Cup.

Taking a look at some of the Power Rankings around the league, the Blueshirts appeared to climbed up many charts.

Here’s how they’ve moved in rankings from the last time we checked in February to March:

  • NHL.com 7th to 5th
  • The Athletic 8th to 4th
  • ESPN 9th to 5th
  • NBCSports 8th to 7th
  • Sportsnet 6th to 10th

So far, so good for the Rangers’ new guys. Andrew Copp notched a goal and five points in his first three games, and Tyler Motte has been a tenacious addition up front and on New York’s penalty kill. Justin Braun is in and out on the back end thus far, but given the veteran’s age (35) and experience, he might shine brightest come playoffs anyway.

ESPN

Major leap by the Rangers here. What could be behind that? All I can say is that we finally came around. It was a four-win week, for one. Igor Shesterkin chased getting, uh, chased by the Devils with 42 saves on 45 shots across two wins vs. the Penguins. I will say, the team around him looks legitimately better. Shesterkin was great at points in the third period of the second Pittsburgh game, but the rest of it was light work. That’s not a bad sign, given that those two teams seem like a lock for a first-round series.

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NHL Rumors

The NHL Trade Deadline has passed but all attention for moves now turns to the offseason. Here is a list of the Top 10 trade candidates for the summer. Read more.