The Rangers goalkeeper is adjusting to the pressures of the playoffs

He is also one of the best players in the NHL in any position. He has been named as one of the three Hart Trophy finalists for the most valuable player during the regular season and it is almost guaranteed that he will receive the Vezina Trophy as the best goalkeeper. All the proof needed by the voters was his save percentage of 0.935 and 2.07 goals versus the average, both best in the league.

Shesterkin, 26, was drafted out of Russia by Rangers in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and fit neatly into a Rangers goalkeeping line that dates back to the early 1990s with Mike Richter being followed two years later. his retirement, by Henrik Lundqvist in 2005.

“What a streak of goalkeepers we’ve seen here with Rangers,” said Eddie Olczyk, TNT analyst and Richter’s teammate on the last Rangers team to win a Stanley Cup, in 1994. “Goaltending was no problem. for Rangers, and when you have it, you have a chance to win every night. “

Olczyk said he spoke to Gallant about Shesterkin months ago, and the coach was delighted with the goalkeeper’s extraordinary ability to read, react and be in the right position before the shot or pass.

“I don’t think you hear that very often,” Olczyk said. “He seems to know what’s going to happen before he knows it. When this happens, you are playing five-card stud with six cards. It’s a good hand to play with. “

Lundqvist was like that too. He was still a Ranger when Shesterkin made his debut on January 7, 2020. Shesterkin spoke very little English at the time and it was difficult for Lundqvist to communicate with him casually and in depth to get an idea of ​​who Shesterkin was. But he noted that his new teammate was quite relaxed and talkative with the other Russian-speaking Rangers players, such as Pavel Buchnevich and Vladislav Namestnikov, both of whom are no longer part of the team.

Now Rangers analyst on MSG Network, Lundqvist said Shesterkin’s easygoing behavior was critical to the Russian goalkeeper’s ability to withstand pressure and failure, what little he had.