Coach Gerard Gallant says he will keep faith with netminder Igor Shesterkin as the New York Rangers aim to avoid elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins in game five of the Eastern Conference first round on Wednesday.
(This article was originally published on 11.05.2022)
The Rangers - 19/4 to turn the best of-seven series around and 40/1 to win the Stanley Cup - conceded seven in each of the past two games, going 3-1 down in the series (7-4 and 7-2), with Shesterkin pulled from both contests.
Shesterkin is the favourite to win the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL regular season after going 36-13-4 with a .935 save-percentage and 2.07 goals-against-average (GAA).
However, in the play-offs, his numbers have dipped to a .905 save-percentage and 4.26 GAA resulting in Gallant offering his backing to his number-one.
He said to the media: "He's the best goalie in the league. He'll be back in there and he'll be ready to win the next game Wednesday night.
"I have all the confidence in the world in him. It was a tough night for our team and I'm disappointed more in our team than him."
Shesterkin, drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL draft, reached 100 games in the NHL regular season this season.
Starting 95 of those, the Russian has earned 62 wins with a .928 save-percentage and 2.31 GAA.
New York finished second in the Metropolitan Division with a 52-24-6 record, seven points ahead of the Penguins, but they have been outscored 20-14 in the series so far after outscoring Pittsburgh 11-4 in four regular season games, winning three.