Keys To the East: How the Rangers Can Tame The Panthers For Eastern Crown

It's time to hunt again for the New York Rangers. They've won eight playoff games and defied the odds, "upsetting" the Vegas bettors by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes. However, they still need eight more to reach their goal of winning a Stanley Cup. Yet, to reach their first final in a decade, they must beat the East's reigning beasts, the Florida Panthers. This series should be a classic, so let's consider what to expect. 
Florida Panthers v New York Rangers
Florida Panthers v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Igor Shesterkin
Florida Panthers v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Between The Pipes:

Right now, there's a buzz about several talented Russian goalies making waves in the NHL, and these two are definitely among the cream of the crop.

Sergei Bobrovsky had a standout season, earning a spot as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. His performance speaks for itself with a record of 36-17-4, a .915 save percentage, a 2.37 goals against average, and leading the league with six shutouts. However, many argue that Igor Shesterkin steals the show regarding sheer dominance.

The Shesterkinator hit his stride after the all-star break, posting an impressive 16.69 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in his final 23 starts. Put his .930 save percentage outshone all other goalies who played at least 15 games after the break.

As the playoffs kicked off, the 28-year-old Shesterkin continued his unstoppable run, going 8-2 with a .923 save percentage and leading the league with 8.8 GSAX, while Bobrovsky is at 2.6, according to Moneypuck

Bobrovsky has shown strength in handling higher-danger situations, often facing shots up close, including tips, rebounds, and rush shots. However, he has also let in some more manageable goals.

On the other hand, Shesterkin has mainly faced challenges with medium-danger shots in terms of expected goals.

While the Rangers' goaltending advantage might not be as evident as in previous rounds, Shesterkin's undeniable impact on their success is crystal clear. The team rallies around his talent, poised to ride it to the finish line.