Rangers ready for Game 7 against Hurricanes

Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin provided another outstanding performance with 37 saves and two assists, on goals from Mika Zibanejad a...


Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin provided another outstanding performance with 37 saves and two assists, on goals from Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil, as Rangers extended their season by at least one more game. Shesterkin became the fifth goaltender to record multiple assists in a playoff game and the first Ranger with three in the playoffs (John Vanbiesbrouck had two in 1986 and three overall).

“It’s always great to have a goalkeeper whose next step is to start scoring goals,” Artemi Panarin, a Russian Rangers striker, said through an interpreter.

But Shesterkin’s real contribution is stopping the pucks, which he did by blocking Sebastian Aho on an early breakaway, one of the critical moments in Game 6. Shesterkin was the foundation of the Rangers and the one of the main reasons the team is confident it can finally end. Carolina’s home dominance, in their very last chance to do so.

“We have to play like we play at home,” Chytil said. “I don’t know what the difference is for us playing on the road. In the first series, we found a way to win in Pittsburgh. I know they have the fans and the building they are used to. But we have to play hard and play our game and not focus on anything else, just focus on the game and we can win the game.

But there is another side to this equation that would also seem to favor Rangers. While Shesterkin has been completely reliable for the last three games against the Penguins, his Carolina counterpart, Antti Raanta, has just encountered a potential psychological problem.

After Raanta allowed three goals in less than 24 minutes, including one or two he could have saved, Brind’Amour dropped him in favor of substitute Pyotr Kochetkov.

Raanta has performed beyond expectations since replacing Frederik Andersen, the Hurricanes’ main goaltender, who has been out since April with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Raanta, a former Ranger, spent most of his NHL career as a backup, but played well in the playoffs, posting a 2.20 goals-against-average, including Saturday’s loss.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Rangers ready for Game 7 against Hurricanes
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