NHL

Rangers goalie Shesterkin looks forward to clash against 'best goalie in the world' after Game 7 win

By Sports Desk May 31, 2022

The New York Rangers triumphed 6-2 away from home in Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, securing their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It is the second consecutive series that the Rangers have had to come from behind in – coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3, before falling behind 3-2 against the Hurricanes and winning back-to-back games with their season on the line.

For a Game 7, it was relatively painless for New York, with first-period strikes to Adam Fox and Chris Kreider, before a Ryan Strome goal made it 3-0 Rangers at the end of the second period as goaltender Igor Shesterkin proved impenetrable early.

With the Hurricanes desperate for an early one in the third term, Kreider stuck the dagger in with his second goal to make it 4-0. Carolina finally got their first goal eight minutes into the last period through Vincent Trocheck, but any dream of a comeback was extinguished less than a minute later by Filip Chytil's reply.

Kreider, after scoring twice, was quick to pass the spotlight to who he felt was the match-winner, and highlighted how his Rangers refuse to lie down.

"Obviously, our goaltender [Shesterkin] was once again our best player," he said.

"I've kind of referred to us as cockroaches. We just didn't go away. 

"That's always been ingrained in the culture of every good team I've been on here. We just don't go away, regardless of the score and regardless of where the game is."

Also praising Shesterkin, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said: "He made some key saves at key times – he made that 2-0 lead in the first period stand up."

Shesterkin himself said the early lead took the pressure off, and looked forward to his match-up against compatriot Andrei Vasilevskiy in net for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"We scored two quick goals and it helped me so much,' he said. "I just tried to [do] my job – stop the puck.

"[Vasilevskiy] is the best goalie in the world right now. I think it'll be a good battle."

Speaking to ESPN while still on the ice, Fox touched on the toughness of his side after now moving to 5-0 in elimination games this postseason.

"I think we're a resilient group," he said. "We're a young group, we have a lot of faith in each other in there, and when our backs are against the wall it seems like it brings out the best in us.

"These past two games have been a full-team effort, it took everyone to contribute, and I couldn't be prouder of the team.

"Maybe we're a little naive in there – we're just coming to play. We've got a young group, but guys who have been through it, too. 

"We don't want our season to end, and I think we just go in with that mentality, and its worked for us the past two [Game 7s]."

When asked about the impending matchup against the Lightning, Fox said he will not lose much sleep over his side's rest disadvantage.

"I'm not sure to be honest – obviously [the Lightning] getting a little rest is good for their guys, but we're in hockey mode," he said. "We're in playoff mode, and we want to keep the momentum rolling.

"It could be good for us, but obviously a good test as well."

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