Shesterkin ready to carry the workload as Rangers face Sabres in Buffalo

By Forever Blueshirts
Alexis Lafreniere
Alexis Lafreniere 1st NHL goal (Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Rangers will look to avoid the April Fool’s joke that would be a loss to the Sabres tonight. Buffalo finally snapped their 18 game losing streak and have some positive vibes coming in. The same can be said of the Blueshirts who stopped a to game losing skid by scoring five unanswered to beat the Capitals in their last game.

Rangers: 16-15-4 (36 pts)
Sabres: 7-23-5 (19 pts)

(7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM)

Rangers vs Sabres: Igor Shesterkin ready to carry the load for the Rangers playoff push

Igor Shesterkin will start and carry the bulk of the workload from here on out. The big question is will he play the back-to-back scheduled on April 8th and 9th against the Penguins and Islanders respectively? A workhorse number one would.

Right now Shesterkin has the Rangers feeling confident whenever he’s in net and that can go a long way for the team. David Quinn noticed and relayed it that after beating the Caps. “How much confidence he has and how much confidence our team has in him,” the coach explained. “Certainly gives you a little bit of a leg up. Listen at this level you need good goaltending and we certainly got more than good goaltending tonight.”

igor shesterkin
Feb 20, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) celebrates with Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) after their game against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In his last three appearances he’s posted a 2-1-0 record, along with a 2.36 GAA and a .938 SV%. According to NHL Stats and Information, Shesterkin’s 18 wins in his first 30 career NHL appearances are the second-most by a Rangers goaltender in franchise history; Jim Henry earned 20 wins in his first 30 career appearances during the 1941-42 season. Since expansion (1967-68), the only three Rangers goaltenders who have earned 17 or more wins in their first 30 career NHL appearances are Shesterkin (18 in 2019-20 and 2020-21), Mike Richter (17 in 1989-90 and 1990-91), and Henrik Lundqvist (17 in 2005-06).*

*Info provided by NYR PR

David Quinn’s post practice presser

Yesterday, the head coach was asked over a half dozen questions on Vitali Kravtsov. In a nutshell; Kravtsov is going to be worked into the lineup slowly. When the time comes it will be in a top nine role as he’s not suited for 4th line duties. As for who will come out that remains to be seen.

Pre Game Notes

  • All-Time vs Sabres: 80-79-25-5 (45-31-15-3 at home; 35-48-10-2 on the road)
  • The Rangers have posted a plus-18 goal differential over the last eight games (36 goals for, 18 goals against) and a plus-21 goal differential over the last 10 games (44 goals for, 23 goals against).
  • Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin each reached the 30-point plateau for the 2020-21 season on Mar. 30 vs. Washington. The Rangers have four players who have tallied 30 or more points this season (Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, Panarin, and Fox), and the Blueshirts are one of three NHL teams that have four players who have registered at least 30 points in 2020-21 (Tampa Bay and Winnipeg). 
  • The Rangers have outscored their opponent on special teams in 14 games in 2020-21 and have posted a 10-3-1 record in those 14 contests.

Notes courtesy NYR