Igor Shesterkin propels surging Rangers past Flyers

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No one would have guessed that Rangers hadn’t seen game action in five days.

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Because they were fast and opportunistic against the bottom-up Flyers team, who dropped their seventh straight game after coming to the Blueshirts in a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

The Rangers have now tied their season-high winning streak of four matches, while Philadelphia have dropped nine of their last 11.

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With plenty of practice days to prepare, Rangers were anything but rusty from the moment they took the snow on Wednesday night. Behind the Flyers’ defense and hole in the visiting team’s structure any time Philadelphia occupied the offensive zone, the Rangers emerged with a 2–0 lead in the opening 20 minutes.

Philadelphia pushed the Rangers back a bit in the middle frame, outplaying the Rangers 16-5. Although Rangers took their momentum from the first period and managed to capitalize on it, after a game of tic-tac-toe in 34 seconds between Mika Zibnejad, Kapo Kako and Chris Kreider finished with Kreider’s 16th goal of the season. Done.

Igor Shesterkin saved one of his 33 in Rangers’ 4-1 win over the Flyers.
NY Post: Charles Weinzelberg
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Artemi Panarin added a blank-netter in the last second.

However, Rangers were forced to roll with 11 forwards for the majority of the game, after Dryden Hunt charged Flyers defenseman Justin Braun into the second period after a five-minute lead and assessment of game misconduct. The call was ambiguous, as Hunt’s skates never left the ice and he made a noticeable effort to move his body away from the hit.

Nevertheless, the Flyers were given a five-minute power play. Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, however, went into one of his brick-wall modes. At one point, Shesterkin threw his stick into the air to hit the puck with the crossbar and take it out. He then used Jacob Trouba’s wand to make three more saves, which got the Garden crowd on their feet as an ‘I-Gore! Chanting reverberated throughout the arena.

During the long power play, Shesterkin made seven saves and 33 saves on the night.

By the halfway mark of the third period the Rangers were suddenly down to 10. Barkley Goodrow walked into the locker room after a shot from Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle swung his stick and hit it straight in the face.

Even though they lost two players, the Rangers established – and never relinquished – control of the first game. After Flyers center Morgan Frost called for high-sticking Julian Gauthier in the first two minutes, Trouba blasted one over the zone to keep Rangers on board. It was also the second Power-play unit’s first goal of the season.

As the Flyers quickly raised their defensive pair, the Rangers continued to tear them apart. Panarin hit Hunt with a cross-ice pass and he put it on with his skate at 9:32 for a 2-0 lead. It was only the second time in Hunt’s career that he scored in back-to-back games.

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