The special ability distinguishes Igor Shesterkin in the Rangers goalie race


A policy statement is neither required nor likely to be made. But for David Quinn, it's just that.

"Whoever is playing is number 1," said the coach after naming Igor Shesterkin as the starting player for Tuesday's game in Winnipeg, which opens a three-game trip for Rangers. "So yes, he's the number one goalkeeper [Tuesday] Night."

This is the first road start for Shesterkin, who went 5-1 in his first six NHL games with a saving of 0.933 and a GAA of 2.34. Cam Talbot drove 6-1 in his first seven starts as a ranger in 2013-14.

"I just think of the boast [Shesterkin] This is so necessary for this position, ”said Quinn about the 24-year-old Russian. "He's really good, he knows he's really good, but it's not arrogant.

"He has a mentality, I think he can feel a game and what will happen in it. He has a good pulse and good anticipation. I think he understands goalkeepers and hockey."

Igor Shesterkin
Igor ShesterkinPaul J. Bereswill

Shesterkin also has puck handling skills that are rare. If the Rangers take less time while No. 31 is in nets, this is probably not a coincidence. This Netminder does not simply put it on the next available socket, but constantly tries to start a counterattack.

"I have to get used to it first," said Chris Kreider after the 4-1 victory over LA on Sunday, when the Netzminder pushed the saucer passes into the neutral zone. "I come back into the zone and watch the puck sail over my head.

"The Russians all know, they understand what he's going to do. I have to get used to it. It's pretty special."

This may come back to bite Shesterkin and the Rangers from time to time, but the risk-reward factor is overwhelming on their side.

"Great time," said Quinn when asked how much the dynamics change because of this ability. “I think one of the reasons why St. Louis won the Stanley Cup is because of how your goalkeeper plays [Jordan Binnington] handled the puck.

“The way people check today if you have a goalkeeper who can handle the puck makes a big difference. One of the things about him is that he will get better on the practical side. He can do something that everyone ‘oohs and aahs’ when he goes over to the blue line, but the exchange between goalkeepers and defenders is more important than ‘oohing and aahing’.

The blueshirts are absent on Wednesday and then compete against each other in Minnesota on Thursday and in Columbus on Friday. If nothing unexpected happens, Shesterkin will get one of them. Chances are that Alexandar Georgiev will win the other, as Henrik Lundqvist keeps training every day.

Filip Chytil, who had a strong game on Sunday, prevailed in training with Kaapo Kakko and Pavel Buchnevich at the top of the second Powerplay unit. Chytil, who has not been in power play since returning from the winter break six games ago, replaced Brendan Lemieux.

The blueshirts ran otherwise with the same combinations as against the kings, with Phillip Di Giuseppe against Chytil and Kakko in the third row, while Lemieux worked with Greg McKegg and Brett Howden in the fourth unit.