Forever Blueshirts continues its offseason coverage with our Reliving Rangers series. Every so often we will bring you some of the best moments from this season and crank up the time machine for some bigger blasts from the past.
In this edition, we go back to Igor Shesterkin’s first NHL shutout which came against the Devils on April 13, 2021. He followed up that performance with his second career blanking against NJ in the next game.
Reliving Rangers: Igor Shesterkin’s great season
This past season, Igor Shesterkin made 35 appearances winning 16 of those games. The 25 year-old 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).
Impressive. Especially when you consider that on March 5th he tore his groin and missed several weeks. As he was recovering from his injury, questions about his durability started to find its way into the NY papers. Larry Brooks brought up Shesterkin getting hurt in an RTP exhibition match which caused him to miss Games 1 and 2 against the Hurricanes last season. He returned for Game 3, but the Rangers were swept in the Qualifying Round.
Naturally, when he was hurt on a non contact play against the Devils red flags went up. Shesterkin responded by going on a different kind of tear upon his return. From March 24th to April 27th, Igor went 9-4-2 and had the Rangers knocking on the door of a playoff spot. The wheels fell off for the Blueshirts’ bus after that. He finished with 10-7-2 after recovering from his groin tear.
Rangers Game Recap: 3-0 win over Devils
It wasn’t easy even though the Blueshirts walked out of the Prudential Center with a 3-0 win. The Rangers traded too many chances with the Devils in the first period and were lucky to be up 1-0 on Mika Zibanejad’s 15th of the season.
After giving up 10 shots and even more chances in the first; the Rangers only gave up 17 the rest of the game. Artemi Panarin scored in the second period for his 138th point in his first 100 games as a Rangers. The goal was one more point than Mark Messier’s previous record in that span.
Another milestone was reached when Pavel Buchnevich sealed the game with a shorthanded empty-netter. He goes down in the Blueshirts history book for scoring the 20,000th goal in the franchise’s history. However; the game’s first star was 25 year-old rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin who notched his first ever NHL shutout on the strength of 27 saves. It was his 11th win on the season as he drove the Rangers surge with at least a point in nine out of his last 11 appearances at that time.
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