Rangers yank Igor Shesterkin after disastrous first period

You would assume Rangers coach Gerard Gallant wouldn’t be so daring as to begin Alexandar Georgiev in Game 4.

Likewise, you’ll assume that Igor Shesterkin wouldn’t flip in a repeat efficiency of Saturday night time’s, which noticed him surrender 4 objectives on 15 pictures within the first period earlier than the sport’s narrative went up in smoke over the next 40 minutes.

And not less than on the first depend, it appears you’ll be appropriate, because the Rangers coach did nothing to spark an issue following the Rangers’ 7-4 loss in a Game 3 that noticed Shesterkin pulled going into the second period.

“It’s 4-1, you want to change momentum a little bit sometimes and Igor’s been outstanding,” Gallant stated. “Really you look at it right now and he’s played 10 periods in the last 4 ¹/₂ , five days, whatever it is. So I thought it was a good time to jump-start it and fortunately for us we battled back in the second and tied it up.”

Georgiev did nothing significantly memorable, saving 19 of 20 pictures in reduction. His finest second got here early within the third, when he stopped Sidney Crosby on the doorstep twice. Later on, he was overwhelmed by Danton Heinen brief aspect for the game-winner at 11:02. For Gallant and the Rangers, although, this equation is about Shesterkin.

Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) blocks a shot in the second period of Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Penguins, Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Pittsburgh.
Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) blocks a shot within the second period.
Corey Sipkin/New York Post

Because with Penguins followers delivering a singsong chant of his identify by way of the first 20 minutes, Shesterkin turned a mere mortal.

Whether a results of the 124 pictures Shesterkin confronted by way of the first two video games, a uncommon outlier efficiency or another motive, he was undeniably not himself on Saturday. Even if not for the 4 objectives Pittsburgh scored on him that will have been evident from Shesterkin’s close to failure to cover up a innocent Jeff Carter shot in the direction of the tip of the first period.

On the Penguins’ second purpose of the night time, Shesterkin all however kicked the puck in himself. On the third, he appeared out of position after Evan Rodrigues’ preliminary shot hit off the tip boards, with Rodrigues following his personal shot for the purpose.

Evan Rodrigues #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores past Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 7, 2022 in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins’ Evan Rodrigues scores previous Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin.
NHLI by way of Getty Images

Gallant famous that two of Pittsburgh’s objectives got here on “lucky bounces” and lent credence to the reason that Shesterkin was merely drained.

“Igor’s been our MVP all season as everybody knows, and in the playoffs,” Gallant stated. “I thought we’d give him a little rest tonight and hopefully spark our team and it worked.”

The Rangers did Shesterkin no favors, and have been out of types themselves for the first 20 minutes. Braden Schneider’s turnover that led to Rodrigues’ second purpose hung Shesterkin out to dry, a proven fact that doesn’t change with the information that Shesterkin has usually gotten the Rangers out of these conditions all season.

Shesterkin can’t at all times be a superhero, although he performs one on TV.

If the triple-overtime loss in Game 1 didn’t show that Shesterkin can’t win the Rangers this sequence all by himself, then Saturday absolutely did.

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