It’s not really a question of whether Igor Shesterkin will win the Vezina Trophy this year. The New York Rangers goalie has had a season to remember, and he leads the league in goals-against and saves percentage.
Shesterkin also has the highest saves above expected, at 34.1. Some experts even have Shesterkin as a favorite for the MVP, but he’s competing against players like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. But Shesterkin has carried the Rangers, who had significant trouble in defense.
On Tuesday, the Rangers played their first game of this year’s Playoffs, and, yes, Shesterkin was just as good as he’s been all year. He made history for the Rangers with 79 saves, setting a new franchise record, and it was also the second-most saves in a Stanley Cup Playoff game since 1955-56.
However, it wasn’t enough as the Pittsburgh Penguins scored in triple-overtime to make it 4-3. Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winning goal. The Russian superstar is not one for big words, and after the game, he was asked what makes Igor Shesterkin so special. His answer is pure gold.
“I’m not a goalie coach. I have no idea.”
Malkin just doesn’t care, but he said a lot more when asked later on what he thought of Shesterkin’s game.
“He’s fast, he’s good . … I think he will win the Vezina Trophy probably. We knew it was a great challenge for our forwards.”
Evgeni Malkin didn’t have the best season, as he missed about half of the games due to injury. He’s also served a four-game suspension after a cross-check on Predators defenseman Borowiecki. When reporters asked him about the suspension last night, he simply said,” It wasn’t easy for me. Lots of money I lost.”