Shesterkin saves, Jesper scores in Rangers victory

By Zak Chiger

The Rangers returned from their road trip to face the San Jose Sharks on First Responders Night at MSG. And it would be Igor Shesterkin responding to the tune of a 44-save win to steal victory from the Sharks, giving the Rangers their third consecutive win.

Jesper Fast – The Rangers opened the scoring with Jesper Fast finishing off a beautiful play from linemate Artemiy Panarin. Panarin got the cross-ice pass from Ryan Strome, out-waited goaltender Aaron Dell, and found Fast at the front of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Fast wasn’t done, though, as the rugged winger would pot the game-winner as well. After San Jose was called for icing, the Rangers won the ensuing face-off back to Jacob Trouba, who had his shot stopped. Fast, much like his play away from the puck, was relentless and eventually knocked the rebound over the sprawling Dell to give the Rangers the lead.

Fast’s two goals were his 10th and 11th tallies of the year, as the pending UFA continues to play his game amid the trade deadline craziness.

Mika Zibanejad – The suave Swede tied the game for the Blueshirts in the second period, once again thanks to the BreadMan. With Evander Kane skating below the goal line, Panarin swiped the puck off the stick of the Sharks forward and right to the waiting Zibanejad, who scored his 28th of the season.

Zibanejad has now scored a goal in five of his last six games, and 9 in his previous 12 contests. You’d have to think had he not missed a couple of weeks at the beginning of the season with an injury, Zibanejad could be amongst the league leaders in goals.

Igor Shesterkin – Simply put, the 24-year-old Russian stole this one. Shesterkin made 44 saves, including 21 in the first period, to earn his ninth NHL victory in his first ten starts. The Moscow native made a few dazzling stops, including this doozy on Evander Kane in the first period.

What the Rangers will do leading up to Monday’s trade deadline remains unclear. But one thing is for sure; Igor Shesterkin is the organization’s number one goalie of the future.

Next Game: The Rangers head to Barclays Center for a matchup with the Islanders. Puck drops at 7!

Postgame Notes

  • The Rangers have won nine of their last 14 home games, dating back to Dec. 22 (9-5-0 record), and have outscored their opponents, 52-37, in the 14 contests. The Blueshirts have also earned at least one point in 15 of their last 24 home games (14-9-1 record).
  • Shesterkin is the first goaltender in Rangers history who has earned a win in nine of his first 10 career NHL appearances, and according to NHL Stats and Information, he is the first goaltender who has earned a win in nine of his first 10 appearances as a member of the Rangers in franchise history. He is the fourth goaltender in NHL history who has earned nine wins in his first ten career NHL appearances.
  • The Rangers extended their winning streak to three games and have won seven of the last eight games (7-1-0 record), eight of the last 10 games (8-2-0 record), and 10 of the last 13 games (10-3-0 record). The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 26 of the last 41 games, dating back to Nov. 23 at Montreal (24-15-2 record over the span). The Rangers have earned 29 of their 33 wins this season in regulation and 32 of their 33 wins in either regulation or the five-minute overtime period (the Blueshirts earned 26 regulation/OT wins in 2018-19). As of the conclusion of tonight’s contest, the Rangers’ 29 regulation wins this season are the fourth-most in the NHL and are the most in the Metropolitan Division.

Notes provided by the Rangers

LETS GO RANGERS!!