Igor Shesterkin, who was extremely dominant during the season and in the first two playoff games for the New York Rangers, showed early signs of weakness on Saturday that could instill a lot of confidence in the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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The 26-year-old Russian conceded four goals from 15 shots in the first half before being replaced by Alexandar Georgiev. The Pittsburgh Penguins eventually won 7-4 to take a 2-1 lead in that first-round series.
Despite this very poor performance, Shesterkin maintains a .928 save percentage in three playoff games. He enjoys the full confidence of his head coach Gerard Gallant.
“Igor was exceptional,” said the official National Hockey League (NHL) website as a former member of the Montreal Canadiens organization. Really, you’re looking at him right now and he’s played 10 periods in the last four or five days.”
“Igor, as everyone knows, was our most valuable player all season, including in the playoffs. I decided to give him some rest to stimulate our team. It works out.”
the worst time
This change of goalkeeper had the desired effect as Rangers scored three goals in the second period to equalize.
But in the eyes of Pens head coach Mike Sullivan, the credit doesn’t really go to Rangers. Rather, it is his protégés who have not delivered the goods. Given the circumstances, he wasn’t too hard on them.
“That was maybe the worst time we’ve played on the show. Not maybe, it was the worst, said the pilot. We have moved away from the game that brought us success. It’s just the human element of the sport.”
While Rangers had a blast in the second third, Louis Domingue was trying to weather the storm. Eventually he gave up four of 36 shots – 17 in the second – but still closed the net at the right moment as Rangers seemed unstoppable.
“You must give credit to Louis Domingue,” Gallant said. When it was 4-4 he made some great saves on our power play. That’s a big part of the story of this game.”
The fourth meeting in this series will take place in Pittsburgh on Monday.