Igor Shesterkin didn’t face his first shot until 8:00 in. But by then, he was already making an impact, as he prevented a New Jersey scoring chance in the opening minutes by deflecting a pass out of play. When shots did get through, Shesterkin was his Vezina-self.
Timo Meier and Nico Hischier were denied from the slot early in the second. Then, the netminder came sliding out aggressively to stonewall Tomas Tatar from the slot after he’d taken a centering feed from Hughes, who was later stopped on a breakaway.
The goaltender looked even better in the third, as he stonewalled Dougie Hamilton, Meier, Jack Hughes, and Ryan Graves within the opening three minutes, as the Devils became desperate, trailing 3-0. With 16:52 left, he made his best save of the night, flashing the leather on Ondrej Palat.
He looked on his way to the first postseason shutout of his career, but a K’Andre Miller turnover led to Jacob Trouba tripping Jack Hughes, forcing a penalty shot.
Hughes scored with 2:46 remaining to dash Shesterkin’s shutout hopes. The goal led to the Devils pulling Vanacek, where Filip Chytil came through with an empty-netter to seal it. Overall, Shesterkin finished with 27 saves on 28 shots.
It was a good win, but it’s only one game in what’s expected to be a long series. The Rangers locker room made that crystal clear.