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

https://twitter.com/HeresYourReplay/status/1382137502966951936

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.