Rangers Roundup: Igor Shesterkin starts vs Isles, Frank Vatrano in, and more

The New York Rangers will take on the New York Islanders at MSG on St. Patty’s Day. Tonight, new acquisition Frank Vatrano will make his debut per head coach Gerard Gallant.

“He’s playing tonight,” he said, “He’s either playing with (Ryan) Strome or (Filip) Chytil on the right side.”

Vatrano, 28, was obtained by the Chris Drury in exchange for a fourth round pick. He’s an automatic upgrade for the third line over players like Julien Gauthier and Jonny Brodzinski. This season he has 10 goals and 19 points through 49 games.

Igor Shesterkin starts, Frank Vatrano in

igor shesterkin
Nov 24, 2021; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save on a shot by New York Islanders right wing Oliver Wahlstrom (26) during the second period at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In goal against the Islanders will be Igor Shesterkin, who despite having incredible stats this season has had a rough go of it against the team’s’ top rivals. His career record stands at 1-4-1, with an .888 SV%, and a 3.18 GAA.

Shesterkin will face his close friend from Russia, Ilya Sorokin. When Gallant was asked about the matchup, he downplayed it.

“There’s lots of Russian goalies in our league now,” he said. “They’re two great goalies, no doubt about that.”

“He’s got a great shot, he’s quick, and he scores some goals,” Gallant said about his new player. “He hasn’t played a whole lot of minutes in Florida with the team they have, but we’re excited. Good opportunity for us and him.”

The coach added that Vatrano’s desire to take shots should really help the team.

“He’s pretty excited. Unless he’s lying to me,” Gallant joked. “He seemed really excited this morning and looking for an opportunity.”

Julien Gauthier will be scratched for Vatrano, who will wear 77.

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