Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Just two seasons ago, Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL. Now, he is in the midst of another inconstant season after going through something similar last season. He wasn’t on top of his game for the majority of the 2022-23 season and only found it when the playoffs came around and he was the only reason why the Rangers went to Game 7 against the New Jersey Devils.

After a strong start to this season, Shesterkin’s game has once again hit a fork in the road and now, fans are worried about how much longer this will go on. If he can’t turn his game around quickly, the Rangers are going to be in more trouble than they thought.

December Struggles For Shesterkin

The last game where Shesterkin let in two or fewer goals was Nov. 29 against the Detroit Red Wings. Every start since he has allowed three or more goals. In his last three games, which have been the most concerning, he has allowed a total of 15 goals and his highest save percentage during that span was a .862 against the Washington Capitals. His recent struggles are impacting his overall season numbers and they are now the lowest numbers of his career so far. He has a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.02 and a save percentage (SV%) of .902. He has also been in goal for every single one of the Rangers’ seven regulation losses this season.

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The defense in front of Shesterkin has also been struggling for the past month. They have given up a lot of odd-man rushes against and have given their opposition many high-danger scoring chances throughout these games. The Rangers have lost the structure they were playing with for the first month and a half of the season. Now, it seems like they have reverted to thinking that Shesterkin will make the key saves, but he hasn’t recently and it has cost them games in which they had a chance to win.

Jonathan Quick Outperforming Shesterkin

Nobody thought the Rangers were going to get this performance out of Jonathan Quick. After playing poorly his last few seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and with how poor he looked during the preseason, it was a safe bet that the Quick wouldn’t be the backup goalie for long. However, he has proved everyone wrong and has been one of the best surprises of the season in the NHL so far. He is currently 8-0-1 with a 2.20 GAA and a .922 SV% along with two shutouts. He has single-handedly won games for the Rangers and is always giving them a chance to win each time he gets to play.

Related: Rangers’ Defensive Woes Are Cause For Alarm

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The 37-year-old is currently outperforming the team’s number one goalie and that is something no one was expecting to see. With Quick playing better as of late, some may argue that he should get more starts while Shesterkin works on improving his game. However, if the Rangers want Shesterkin to get back in a groove and find his game again, he needs to play the games that the starting goalie would usually play.

Bounce-Back Ability

As mentioned earlier, Shesterkin went through a similar period of play last season where he wasn’t playing like the elite goalie that won the Vezina Trophy. It took him some time to find his game, but when he did, he was playing like his old self again and carried the Rangers to a Game 7 in the playoffs. Although they didn’t win, he was the reason they got that far. He was spectacular sporting a 1.96 GAA and a .931 SV%. If anyone can get out of a slump, it’s Shesterkin and the Rangers need him to do so as quickly as possible.

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When goalies struggle, it’s more of a mental issue than a physical one. They get into their own heads and cast doubt upon themselves and bring their struggles from one game to the next. The Rangers need Shesterkin to figure out how to deal with these issues so he can get back to playing at an elite level because if he continues to struggle, the Rangers won’t be at the top of the league for much longer.

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The post Igor Shesterkin’s Recent Struggles Should Have Rangers Concerned appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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