Igor Shesterkin slammed his stick into the boards as he made his way to the locker room with seconds left in overtime.
The concussion spotter pulled the Rangers netminder out of the game after he got knocked in the head on play in front of his net, bringing in a cold Alexandar Georgiev to finish out the final seconds of the extra period. But as the teams lined up for the shootout, Shesterkin emerged from the tunnel and was greeted with a resounding round of applause.
Shesterkin then stopped seven of the nine skaters he saw in the shootout — as Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and K’Andre Miller scored for the Rangers — to lift the team to a 2-1 victory over the Bruins on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden .
Finishing with 31 saves, Shesterkin came up with a big stop on Bruins winger David Pastrnak just over a minute into overtime to ignite the Garden crowd. Boston continued to swarm, and Craig Smith knocked into Shesterkin before pushing the puck over the goal line with his hand, which was immediately waved off by referees.
Alexis Lafreniere took exception to Smith’s actions and began to pummel the Boston forward, earning himself a seat in the penalty box. Shortly after, Shesterkin headed to the locker room before making a quick return.
The tone of the night was set by the Rangers’ inability to record a single shot on goal until over 12 minutes into the game. It was obvious from puck drop that they hadn’t even sniffed a game in two weeks, and the Bruins were already on their fourth contest since All-Star weekend. But the Rangers’ trend of the season still applied: Never count them out.
Filip Chytil put back his own rebound at 6:45 of the third to even the score at 1-1. The Rangers’ third and fourth lines carried the offense through much of the game.
Considering how much the Rangers have relied on generating offense from their power play this season, having to play two of the three periods entirely at even strength didn’t make things any easier. Even when they earned the man-advantage at 16:32 of the third period, the Rangers only had one shot on goal.
An adjustment period was always expected, but the Rangers could only muster two shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes. Puck management could’ve been better, passes could’ve been cleaner and zone entries could’ve been stronger.
It resulted in a 1-0 deficit at the end of the first. Barclay Goodrow tapped the puck back to no one and ignited an odd-man rush for Boston that ended with center Charlie Coyle’s 11th goal of the season at 3:39.
The second period was much more even, as the Rangers generated a handful of opportunities while outshooting the Bruins 15-9. Still, the quality high-danger chances were hard to come by.