Connor Hellebuyck records 50 saves, Rangers’ struggles with Igor Shesterkin continue in 4-1 loss

Rangers fall to Winnipeg 4-1
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, right, makes a save in front of New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck, front left, in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photos

The New York Rangers have been an offensive juggernaut for the better half of the month of February. 

It all came to a screeching halt on Monday night. 

Connor Hellebuyck saved 50 of 51 shots and shut down the Ranger offense while Igor Shesterkin’s struggles persisted in a 4-1 loss to Winnipeg at Madison Square Garden. 

“He’s (Hellebuyck) obviously a world-class goalie. You tip your hat. Every once in a while you run into a goalie who stands on his head. We’ll take a lot of things from this game positively.”

In a first period that saw the Rangers outshoot the Jets 20-9, Hellebuyck was able to keep New York off the scoresheet and frustrated going into the second frame. Winnipeg also received timely offense with first-period goals by Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois. 

Things quickly went from bad to worse for New York in the second period. After going 0-2 on the powerplay in the period, Kyle Connor rocketed his 26th goal past Shesterkin for a 3-0 Jets lead. In total, Shesterkin tallied just 17 saves on 21 shots. It was the fourth straight start where Shesterkin’s save percentage fell under .900 and 9 of his last 16. 

Even with the struggling play, the Rangers’ head coach believed that this game was an outlier. 

“I thought he (Shesterkin) was fine. I didn’t see any issue with the goals he gave up.” Gerard Gallant said after the game. 

New York would get on the board late in the second when Vladimir Tarasenko found Vincent Trocheck for the score, but the Rangers’ top offense was once again held off throughout a period in which they put up over 10 shots on goal in the period. 

From there, Hellebuyck continued to deny pristine chances that the Rangers created throughout the final period. The second Scheifele goal of the night put the Jets up 4-1 and effectively ended any chance of a trademark Rangers comeback.

“I think we played pretty well. We didn’t give up much, they got some lucky bounces…we had our looks, but overall I thought we played pretty well.” Barclay Goodrow added. “These games will happen. Throughout the year even when you don’t get the two points but you played well.”

The loss moves New York to 33-15-9, ending a 10-game point streak the club was on, and supplanted in third place in the Metro division.  

Game Notes

  • The New York Rangers made their second trade of the deadline period with Tyler Motte returning to the Blueshirts from the Ottawa Senators. Motte played 10 minutes on the ice and put up two shots.
  • Jacob Trouba faced his former team in the Jets. The Rangers’ captain spent six years in Winnipeg and tallied 179 points. Trouba tallied three hits and four shots on the night and was a -1 on the ice. 
  • The 51 shots put up were the most by the Blueshirts this season. 

For more New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com