NEW YORK | Artemi Panarin found the right words to sum up the evening of his compatriot, Igor Shesterkin.
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“The next step for him is to score a goal,” Panarin said with the help of a Russian interpreter in the media room on the fifth floor of Madison Square Garden.
Panarin shared a table alongside Shesterkin and Filil Chytil. If Chytil scored two goals, the big hero of this evening remained the one with the mask and the leggings.
Shesterkin had a fairly rare night for a goaltender with 37 saves, two assists and one penalty.
“It was an important match, mentioned the 26-year-old Muscovite also with the help of the translator. We needed to win. For my two assists, I would say credit goes to my teammates. For the punishment, it was my fault. I wanted to get behind the net, but ended up pushing their striker (Seth Jarvis). If he was bigger, I probably would have been the one who ended up on his back. »
The good read
Shesterkin made a slew of big saves in the 5-2 win. But his two saves against Sebastian Aho on a breakaway and Teuvo Teravainen in the first half changed the game.
“I managed to predict his feint, specified the number 31 of the Rangers. I gained confidence after that. Our goal on the recovery motivated me enormously. After that, I just did my job. »
Two hours into this sixth game, Gerard Gallant had recycled a good old cliché.
"You play your best game or you go home," said the head coach of the "Blue Shirts".
Rangers didn't play a perfect encounter, but Shesterkin was definitely at the top of his game.
"It's him, it doesn't surprise me," Gallant said. He plays his best hockey when the stakes are high. He also has a knack for making big saves on breakaways in the first half. He makes me a little nervous, but he finds ways to fix our mistakes. He gave confidence to our team. »
An unexpected return
There are always miraculous comebacks in the playoffs. Injured since the first game of the first round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, probably in an ankle, Barclay Goodrow returned to competition for this crucial meeting.
"You probably thought I was lying when I said I didn't expect to see him again," Gallant noted. But I got a call from the doctors on Saturday telling me he was ready. It was big for us to see him again, we're talking about a guy who won the Stanley Cup twice with the Lightning. »