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NHL - US Sports: Gallant offers Shesterkin backing

New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant brushed aside any concerns over the form of goalie Igor Shesterkin after he made 30 saves to shut-out the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday.

The Rangers, 14/1 to win the Stanley Cup and second in the Metropolitan Division (46-20-6), moved six points ahead of the third placed Penguins with the home victory.

Shesterkin allowed six goals on 44 shots in his previous two starts, a 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on 1st April and a 4-3 shoot-out defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers on 3rd April.

Shesterkin amongst the best

But, with back-up Alexandar Georgiev winning his past five starts, the Rangers have gone 6-1-2 in their past eight games and 46-20-6 for the season overall.

Shesterkin's shut-out of the Penguins helped move him back to the top of the netminder charts with a .935 save-percentage in 47 games (46 starts). His 2.10 goals-against-average ranks second to Carolina Hurricanes' Frederik Andersen.

His 33 wins are tied for third in the NHL with his overall record this season reading 33-10-4.

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The 6'1" Russian was a fourth-round draft-pick of the Rangers in 2014 and has, over the past two seasons, established himself as the Rangers' starter.

In 94 games in the NHL so far (89 starts), Shesterkin has registered a .928 save-percentage and 2.34 goals-against-average, but he has so far only played in one play-off game.

Gallant said to the media about Shesterkin after the win over the Penguins: "I thought he was excellent. People were worried about him, I wasn't. He played really well, made some real key saves at key times."

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