There are very few teams in the NHL that can provide an answer for the Rangers’ netminder. He’s shown himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the league and if the Russian shot-stopper can continue to exude his class, Igor Shesterkin could be an important difference-maker in a playoff series. How often does a series come down to one save, one goal, one shot, or one moment? If Igor can stop that moment, he could save a series or more.
As the reigning Vezina trophy winner is starting to round back into form after a shoddy period following his trip to the all-star game, Shesterkin is quickly becoming more experienced in his role as a playoff netminder. If he is the best netminder in the series he plays, there is a very good chance the Blueshirts will be the ones walking away with the victory after all.
If we take a little look at last season’s playoff run for the Rangers. Against the Penguins, he was the better netminder. It was the same against Carolina. Against Tampa, he was not worse than Andrei Vasilevskiy, but he was not better and that turned out to be where the Rangers fairytale struck midnight and everything ended before the fans wanted to see it. There’s still time this year.
We’ve seen mediocre teams go deep with a hot goalie. This Rangers team is not mediocre, so if Shesterkin was to become the brick wall he can be, there is every chance the Rangers could end the season with another cup in the storied history of this original six franchise. However, if he is not at his best, it could be a very difficult postseason for the Blueshirts this year.