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Igor Shesterkin’s dominance drives Rangers once again

That’s what Rangers expect and they’ve done so well all year.

There’s little new they can say about it, so they tend to respond to questions about Igor Shesterkin by simply saying he’s been doing the same for them all season.

But that doesn’t stop Shesterkin from continuing his rise to superstardom. That doesn’t stop the Garden crowd from serenading him. And it doesn’t help opponents score goals. Not in the slightest.

Shesterkin was superlative again in Rangers’ 4-1 Game 4 win over the Hurricanes, setting the tone early as he slid over his crease to get a glove on Brett Pesce’s shot. He ended with 30 saves, one win and 18,006 patrons chanting his name. It’s what Rangers want from a player who is almost guaranteed to take home the Vezina Trophy this season.

“The same thing every night,” said Rangers coach Gerard Gallant. “Help our team, fight. I think it was the second shift of the game, he made that backdoor save with his glove and that’s huge for us to take the lead and he’s making those saves early in the game.

Igor Shesterkin makes one of his 30 saves in Rangers' 4-1 Game 4 win over the Hurricanes.
Igor Shesterkin makes one of his 30 saves in Rangers’ 4-1 Game 4 win over the Hurricanes.
Jason scenes

Rangers got a brief glimpse of what life was like without a star goaltender with their two blowout losses to the Penguins, which Shesterkin was drawn into. Since then, the ship has more than stabilized.

After Game 4 against the ‘Canes, Shesterkin has a .939 save rate since being drawn in the midst of the Game 4 disaster in Pittsburgh. That’s a hair’s breadth from his .935 mark, which led the league throughout the season.

Against a Carolina team whose strategy is to shoot the puck anytime, anywhere, that’s what the Rangers needed. Although they really needed that all season.

And again and again Shesterkin has delivered.

After Tuesday’s game, Gallant was asked if Shesterkin could make the difference in the series in such a zone.

“He was in that zone from the first day I saw him,” he said. “Of course every team in the league looks at a guy like Igor. He’s an outstanding goalkeeper. He’s a big part of our group.”

In short: yes.

“It seems like he’s making these big saves in every game,” said Ryan Lindgren.

For almost any other player in almost any other circumstance, that would be overkill. For Rangers and for Shesterkin, it’s a given.

Even if Shesterkin isn’t the story of the night – and in a Game 4 that Rangers dominated after Jacob Trouba’s hit on Max Domi, he wasn’t – he rarely deviates from what has become the norm. Even a 120-foot pass that hits the target, like the one he made to evade the Rangers on a hurried Tuesday, is nothing out of the ordinary.

“He’s always so calm back there,” Lindgren said. “Especially as a defender, we always talk about how he handles the puck and how he talks to us. Igor has been great all year. He was great in the playoffs too.”

https://nypost.com/2022/05/25/igor-shesterkin-dominance-propels-rangers-once-again/ Igor Shesterkin’s dominance drives Rangers once again

JOE HERNANDEZ

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