Rangers Roundup: Shesterkin starts vs Tampa, lineup news, Gallant goes ballistic, and more
The New York Rangers will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 12:30 today. Prior to the game, Gerard Gallant announced Igor Shesterkin will be his starter for the matinee matchup.
Igor is still trying to regain his red-hot form before his lower-body injury that occurred on December 3. However, he was huge in the shootout win on New Year’s Eve stopping all three shooters he faced. For context, those shooters were Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point.
Rangers take on Lightning
The New York Rangers spent the first three months of the season building up a strong record with limited exposure against some of the NHL’s elite teams.
On New Year’s Eve, they passed their first test against the Tampa Bay Lightning and seek another win against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
They will try and do so with Shesterkin in net. For the calendar year of 2021, he is 30-18-5. His .922 SV% is tied for 7th overall and his 30 wins are tied for 9th during that timeframe.
“He was real good, looked great in the shootout,” Gallant said this morning. “Real happy with him.”
New York has racked up 44 points while playing only a smattering of games against the East’s top three teams of Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida Panthers, posting a 2-2-0 mark. The Rangers’ only game against a top-three team in the West was a 3-2 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 17.
UPDATE: PANARIN OUT!
Rangers lineup news
On Saturday, the Rangers announced that Alexandar Georgiev was removed off COVID-19 protocol and will back up Shesterkin today. Keith Kinkaid was moved to the taxi squad and Adam Huska returned to the AHL Wolf Pack.
“[Georgiev] wasn’t sick, he skated a lot last week,” Gallant revealed. “He was just in protocol, so he’s been on the ice a lot.”
No word on when Ryan Lindgren, Kevin Rooney, and Jarred Tinordi will be taken off the list but none are available today.
For Tampa, Andrei Vasilevskiy could be the surprise starter as they announced the return of goalie Hugo Alnefelt to the AHL.
“I don’t care who they got (in goal),” Gallant said. “I care about our team and we’ve got 20 wins in 32 games.”
One final note is Barclay Goodrow could remain on the second line with Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin.
Gerard Gallant’s ballistic tirade on NYE
Head coach Gerard Gallant is very even-tempered for the most part. There’s been several occasions where you can see him getting loud on the bench but what occurred on Friday night in Tampa was certainly something.
Gallant was denied a late line change in the third period and he went ballistic. At one point, the ref is holding up a lineup card and the fiery coach swiped at it and accidentally hit Ryan Reaves in the face.
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