If there was any thought that there was concern after New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin had to play 105 minutes of hockey in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, guess again.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant quashed any fear over the young netminder being tired for Game 2 on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Shirts didn’t practice on Wednesday after their marathon three-overtime loss to the Penguins on Tuesday, but they did address reporters at their Westchester practice facility.
Gallant said that he had seen Shesterkin on Wednesday and that he was “great,” according to Mollie Walker of the New York Post.
“There’s no issues with him. 83 shots is quite a bit though, but he’s been doing that all year for us,” Gallant said.
Shesterkin’s 79 saves on Tuesdsaymade him just the eighth goaltender in NHL history to make 65-plus saves in a playoff game and he surpassed Gump Worsley for the franchise record for most saves in a playoff game. The Russian netminder faced 83 shots total in the Game 1 loss.
The effort certainly put into perspective just how well Shesterkin can play on the big stage. The Rangers’ goalie made a number of key saves, which included stopping 22 shots in the second period alone during the Penguins’ offensive onslaught.
The New York Rangers will need a similar effort out of him for Game 2.
Shesterkin wasn’t the only Rangers player that was the focus of concern. Ryan Lindgren was in and out of the game on Tuesday night as well and Gallant said he was dealing with some lower body issues.
Lindgren is “banged up a little” according to the Rangers bench boss, but he does expect him to play as well on Thursday.
The Rangers are playing their first playoff series on Madison Square Garden ice in five years and have a much different roster constructed than they did the last time around. New York came out with a lot of jump on Tuesday but failed to sustain that for a full game.
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It’s an area of emphasis that Gallant wants to see addressed in Game 2.
“Play that battle, play that heavy game for 60 minutes,” Gallant said. “You can’t play it for 25 and expect success from that. We did a lot of things right the first 25 and after that, they took over a little bit.”