Maple Leafs / Rangers Game Thoughts – Franchise goalie Igor Shesterkin
Igor Shesterkin. That’s the intro, body, and ending. It’s been said numerous times, but the Rangers really went from Henrik Lundqvist to Igor Shesterkin. How can a franchise be so incredibly lucky to go from Hank to Shesterkin? But okay, let’s get to a very brief thoughts post for the game this evening.
The Rangers looked the entire game like a team that is missing two top-six forwards. As much as Ryan Strome will get berated on Twitter for his open net misses, it’s apparent that the combination of him and Artemiy Panarin is undeniably lethal. Until tonight’s OT winner by Panarin, he has not looked like himself through the first 3.5 games. I don’t know if someone said something to him in between periods two and three, but he came out on fire in the third. Gallant sure tried to force the issue by pairing him with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on the top line to jumpstart him. It worked. Kakko was looking good to start the season as well with Panarin and I was looking forward to seeing how that chemistry would continue. Get well soon Kaapo.
Despite the win, a game like that certainly vindicated the theory that the Rangers need another goal scorer in order to truly be competitive this season. Stating the obvious, but without Kakko in the top six, there is just such a talent drop off on RW that it has naturally become a talking point since the Kravtsov news. While there is plenty of season still to go and the Rangers are 2-1-1 on the year, it is something that should be in the back of management’s mind if the end goal for the season is making the playoffs. I got to say though, this fourth line has been my favorite fourth line for the Rangers since the ’13-’14 season of Moore-Boyle-Dorsett. Analytically, they are a positive at creating chances, they forecheck aggressively, and eventually they will score.
Last thoughts for the game: Shesterkin is the absolute truth and the new franchise goalie. That was the wildest OT I have ever witnessed in the 3 on 3 era the amount of chances for both teams. Both Igor and Jack Campbell for Toronto were excellent tonight. Igor is the second coming of Lundqvist, but hopefully this time the Rangers learn to build a proper defense in front of him. See you Thursday against Nashville! Speaking of wingers to look at for scoring…Filip Forsberg anyone???
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