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Igor Shesterkin gets first NHL shutout as Rangers top Devils

One down. Three to go. The Rangers started rivalry week with the Devils off with a big win to get things started in their path to a sweep. Remember the Rangers need to sweep the Devils to stay relevant in the 2021 playoff race. These were a needed two points, even if Boston beat Buffalo as well. They are keeping pace and beating bad teams. Both are expected from the Bruins and the Rangers. But it was also Igor Shesterkin’s first NHL shutout.

This was a weird game though. It was a track meet to start off, with both teams trading chances. Then it slowed to a crawl as the Devils owned the Rangers in the second. Then it was a bit of both with the Rangers owning the Devils in the third. Just a weird one.

Rangers 1, Devils 0 – Little tip from Kravtsov

Vitali Kravtsov skated to the puck in the neutral zone and drew two defensemen two him. That left open ice for Mika Zibanejad, who was crossing with him at center ice. Both Devils went to Kravtsov, leaving the middle of the ice open for Zibanejad. One burst of speed and he was on a breakaway.

Rangers 2, Devils 0 – What passing

Just enjoy this passing. The Devils are not good defensively so they don’t get in passing lanes, but this was pretty.

Rangers 3, Devils 3 – Number 20,000

Pavel Buchnevich gets goal number 20,000 in New York Rangers history. Pretty cool.

Shot Heatmap – Action, boring, action

What a weird game. The first period was a track meet and somewhat even in xGF% and CF%. The second period was a snooze fest and the Devils walked all over the Rangers. It was not pretty. Then the third was both with the Rangers walking all over the Devils. What a weird one.

Skater Results – Expected? I guess?

Given how the game went, I guess this was expected? It was a low event game, so there’s a lot of dull. But the Rangers owned the third and even in the first, both had move events than the second, so that means they came out looking better. Makes logical sense,

The Rangers needed this, and Igor Shesterkin got his first NHL shutout just in time here, even if it was almost jinxed. The Rangers need to beat bad teams, especially when the Bruins are doing the same. The Flyers also lost, which helps a bit. But it’s one of four. They need the next three.

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  • That goose egg was a long time coming for Igor. Good for him.

    How about that little touch pass by Kravs to Zibby??? That is top-notch skill and incredible hockey instinct rolled into one.

    • He did not get the assist on the play. Not sure how. He did play another solid game. Perhaps we should have sent Lafs and Kaako to Russia for their development. Joking.

        • Guess what? Next year Kravs will be a year older than Kaako and two years older than Laf. Perhaps you could count Kravs 6-7 games in NHL versus Kaako 100 or 45 plus for Laf? He also was drafted ninth and not top two

          Every player has their own development path. I did not see much of Lafs in Junior but I did see plenty of Kaako. His game was much sounder then . I certainly expected much more by now.

          On the other hand Kravs has not shown just flashes, he has been one of the most visible player on the ice. Forechecking, backchecking, battles in the corners, separating from defense, shots on goals, and overall skills. And do not forget he has mostly played with Howden and Rooney

          He has made a big impact since he has joined the lineup and I am hoping the other top rookie forwards will do the same soon

          • Ignorant people downvoting your post because they were trained like pavlov dogs to follow NY media… It was a major error by the NYR brass to keep Kakko on NHL roster when Kravtsov was far more prepared prospect (learned English – started skating early…) He was sent to Hartford instead primarily due to marketing efforts around Kakko who had miserable season last year… Kravtsov could have had far better year and would have prevented Rangers from signing idiotic Kreider contract…

          • Outside of the marketing angle – you make a sound argument on the talent comparison of LAST year and how it “could have” been different.

            I agree Kravs got the sh$t end of the stick last year, but last year is over.

            This year KK is “beginning” to break out so to speak and Kravs is ready for prime time NOW.

            To quote a person close to the team “he is not a 4th line player.”

            Perhaps what Kravs went through over the last 18 months has helped him be the player he is now.

          • That’s absolutely reasonable… I still would classify KK as raw but improving player particularly in the defensive zone. However, what takes KK a lot of effort (genral game awareness & defensive coverage in particular) – Kravtsov seem to do rather naturally… Kravtsov seem to have 200 feet game in all three zones with his skating and reach which translates well to him getting more time on ice and would lead to better point production… Offensively KK is still has far higher theoretical upside but I am starting to get concerned about his ability to beat goaltenders with his shot on NHL level… Alexis Lafrenière already has shown his ability to shoot and beat NHL caliber goalies and KK has not so far (he is only 19 yo but so is Alexis…) All three are incredible prospects to watch… I hope Chytil would move up to play with Panarin and Kravtsov and Barron would get his opportunity to play pivot between KK and Alexis

          • Swarty ,

            “Perhaps what Kravs went through over the last 18 months has helped him be the player he is now.” But equally the same question would apply to Kakko? Perhaps what he went thru last 18 months did not help him? You are taking hypothetical one way and ignore the other. Look at my post above. Kravs is the onle first rounder selection who did not start his first year after the draft. The other 3 all started from game one. And one more who claimed to be expendable high draft choice too. Is this a pattern or a coincidence?

          • Swarty,

            I am glad you agree. We want to be fair and open minded.

          • Thank you very much Al Bundy. I appreciate your kind word. I sincerely mean it. Looks like you are getting many dislikes as well for your post

            Tanto brought the dislikes issue to my attention few days ago in a different thread. And I told him at the time that “I am too old to worry about dislikes”

            But since this has come up again. I would like to take a moment and respond. Since I do not see anything factually and rationally inaccurate in my posts, I strongly believe that these dislikes caused by my stand to defend ADA.

            Let me make few points. I grew up in the country where we used to have 2 TV stations. One propaganda channel and second one when you turn to it from the first one had a message “turn back to first channel”. I always will cherish anyone expressing their views no matter whether I agree or disagree with them. I deeply believe in that. ADA or anyone else entitled to their views no matter what you think and it does not matter if he Trump supporter or not, what he said about Covid and vaccines. He entitled to his views. But destroying a young player career by attacking his views are intellectual and morally wrong. And I will always stand by my values and integrity. Whoever disagree with that fine with me I just wish you could experience it yourself by spending a week or so in old Soviet Union, China or whichever else freedom of speech is not allowed.

            But it is a hockey blog and I thought we are here to discuss hockey with our knowledge and passion. So I also grew up with hockey passion. I got on my skates at age of 3. I played in the most miserable conditions when the temperature was 25-30 below. Played for middle school and high school teams, Played at varsity college not for long. Studied many different systems and styles. I love the game and if people want to read my views and debate them I am all for it. If they want to keep disliking my posts for my moral values, it is also fine with me.

            Regarding your hockey points. I happen to agree with you Kakko was less than ready last year and the same is for Laf this year. You also can add Chytil to the list Partially the decision not to move them to minors could have been that Hartford had not been a good development organization until recently

            But look at the facts. Lias, Chytil, Laf, Kakko all started playing from day one after the draft. Lias failed in his career, Chytil still trying to get the identity to his game. Kakko being number 2 should have much more advanced. He surely looked much better before joining the Rangers. Laf I cant say much but his game is not distinguishable yet.

            Now you take Kravs. A lot had been written of his attitude last year. Yes, he was upset for not making the team. Anyone who were saying at the time that his preseason was weak play were watching different games than I was. But for better or worse he spent one year in Hartford and Russia and another year in Russia. He comes here and plays real sound game in every area. He played in all 4 lines. Even played left wing. So the same people who could not recognize and get excited about his first 6-7 games. I would ask if it was any other of kids line and not only after few games but after playing 1-3 seasons I am sure their reaction would have been a lot different.

            I do not like our GM but I give him full credit for drafting Kravtsov. He is now the best of kids than not even playing kids line we have. Hope organization would do self reflection and take responsibility for player evaluation and development

          • Excellent post… Like you have somewhat mixed feelings about both Gorton… I give him full credit for improvement in both amateur & pro scouting scouting and brutally honest assessment of the team resulting in famous letter to fans. My main problem with Gorton is his decision to sign underachieving Kreider last year instead of moving him for a first rounder in last year’s deep draft… Even without foreknowledge of #1 overall pick this decision smells of the NY media influence rather than cold analysis of years of Kreider inconsistent performances… Result of this failure is we are now stuck for 6 more years with essentially a third line LW who is making 6.5 AAV… TDA saga has been imho borderline unprofessional behavior from him – in particular his declaration that Tony played his last game for the team was completely unnecessary and counterproductive…

          • AL Bundy,

            I have mixed feelings about Kreider signing. I understand they had signed him before winning the lottery draft and unfortunately Laf was a left winger. However, there is certainly value Krider has for this team. He surely can do a lot more with his skating and speed. But that how he is being used. He can handle the puck more and shot more. His shot is not that bad. So it could be mismanagement

            With Gorton I do not have any mixed feelings. He is not a good GM by any measures. Just check his drafting hstory, coach hiring, building farm system, developing young players, not having a single center on the prospect list. He has been riding on his draft with Bruins prior to joining the Rangers. With Rangers he has had a bad record besides winning two draft lotteries. But surely getting Kravtsov was a brilliant move. I hope Nils will be in the same category. I would certainly fire him and get Drury in his role and get a new coach. For anyone complaining about DQ should recognize that Gorton is accountable for it

          • I wrote quite a bot about Kravs not making the team last year, I thought it something of a travesty based on what I had seen in camp. That said, the skill hasn’t changed, but his on-ice attitude certainly has. He’s much more assertive and aggressive now … and you will see the same improvements from Laffy, Chytil, and Kakko when they finally decide to take the bull by the horns, trust in their skill, but fight for every puck, every inch of ice. They are all BIG kids (well Laffy isn’t quite as big), they need to play like it … but it takes each individual time to recognize this, the shite they got away with outside the NHL just doesn’t work as well in the NHL.

            Gauthier is another example … and it’s taken him years to just start to figure it out. He has a ways to go and it may never happen for him, especially on this team.

          • tanto, I have to disagree with you.

            Not sure where you are getting your information about Kravs attitude. I have followed his development from the day Rangers had drafted him. I did see his play in KHL and international. When his team wanted him to switch from wing to play center (he never played center prior) he did it without hesitation. Do you know how difficult to do it especially at that stage? He was showing his skills at the highest level prior to coming to the Rangers last year. You probably have seen and witnssed yourself that most Russians speak thru interpreter. This guy took his private English classes at advanced level because he did not want to be different from his teammates. I do not know where he got tha tbad publicity. But I am sure for many here being number 1 in TSN prospect rating should mean something too.

            If you putting his disappointment of not making the team for no particular reason conveyed to him than I am sure many people would qualify. You saw him playing in Traverse City in training camp and preseason. Whoever saying here that he did not deserve to make last year team watched someone else. He had the same skills, the same level f play and great team attitude then as he has now.

            I heard you saying he needs ore weight and strength. I have not seen him out muscled by anyone so far yet. He is 190 lbs plus and in great shape. every time he is on the ice you expect something to happen,

            He is a great talent and we are lucky to have him. Credit to GM and scouts.

          • Yeah, you misinterpreted what I said. I’m talking about assertiveness on the ice, aggressive play … the confidence to execute, the swagger. This has nothing to do with his willingness to play wherever the coach wants him to, or his desire to get comfortable with the English language, etc. In fact everything that I had read prior to that first camp told me this kid was going to make it … but again, we’re talking about ADJUSTMENT to the NHL game, whether it’s from the KHL, SHL, College or Major Junior.

          • I do not think we need to read any blogs but rather look at the historical facts.

            Rangers chose Kakko last year over Kravtsov. And yes Kravtsov was one year older then too. I am not sure that I had seen Kakko outplaying Kravtsov in preseason but that what it had been declared then.

            So now we are a year and half after. Kravs played 6-7 games and looks better IMHO than Kakko and playing all over lineup in multiple positions and roles. So either Rangers did miscalculate both of them then or Kravs developed much better with Hartford and KHL than Kakko with DQ.

            I am only using them two because both of them required North Americ adjustments from bigger skating rinks and culture barriers

      • There was his stick and a Devil stick, perhaps his didn’t touch the puck … but I thought he did.

        Kravs looks like he’ll break out one of these days (soon) with a multi-point game. He’s a terror on the ice, relentless … when he adds some more strength watch out.

        • I dont think they have changed it and I hope they keep it this way. We want Fox to build his Norris resume. We all can just appreciate that play replay

          • I think Fox can afford giving away his 1 point to Kravs, for the good of the team! lol Besides, we need to sign Fox long term BEFORE he wins the Norris, not after … God forbid. 😉

      • I think NHL changed assist to him after the game, which matters for him cause that was an amazing play

      • It’s Fox that got the secondary assist, Pavel would get an assist no matter what on that play.

  • My congratulations to Igor Shesterkin on his first shutout. The man played like a genius stopping many difficult close in shots.

  • Congrats to the Tsar on the first of hopefully many shutouts…next up on the achievement list is the Tsar’s first goal?

    I am a huge fan of Henrik, he is my favorite Ranger along with Adam Graves—but it’s great to see a Ranger goalie with excellent stickhandling ability. Shesty is poised and decisive with the puck while extremely tough on shooters in close. Really had the sense this time that he wasn’t letting anything past him.

  • I’m saying this was one of Trouba’s best as a Ranger thus far.

    He took the lead.

    Did #CK20 drop the gloves? His hit was legit, I am growing tired of the scrums happening every time someone lands a solid hit.

    After Igor’s first 2 saves I broke out the Shestyorkin SKA St. Petersburg 70th Anniversary of the Army Club KHL 2016-17 Russian Jersey…

    It worked! LOL

    LGR!!!

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