DENVER – Igor Shesterkin wants to forget last season.
Winning the Vezina Trophy, finishing in the top three for the Hart Trophy and stopping the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals are in the rearview mirror. It’s a new season and the Russian netminder didn’t go the way he wanted.
What happened in the past has no effect on the future. Only Shesterkin and the rest of the Rangers can say that.
Shesterkin’s historic 2021-22 season was always going to be a daunting prospect to pay off. Not only was he the front-runner for the season-long goaltending award, but his 2.09 goals-against average and .935 save percentage were third in the NHL among goaltenders with at least 50 games played. took over the rune. games. Without him, Rangers would not have been able to succeed, especially with his turbulent start to the season.
“A little early in the season,” Shesterkin told The Post Thursday when asked if he felt any pressure early this season. “Now I forget about it. It was last season. It doesn’t matter what happened. “Now I have to help my team get two points every night.”
That hasn’t always been the case in the Rangers’ first 28 games this season. There was a significant decline between his third and fourth year in the NHL, but his seriousness stood out because of what the Rangers expected from Shesterkin. A 13-10-5 record and a fifth-place finish in the Metropolitan Division made it worse.
Still, Shesterkin gives the Rangers a chance to win every night — he just hasn’t been doing it all by himself lately.
“Obviously I want to get better every day, but last season was really good for me,” said Shesterkin, who led the NHL in goaltending with a .913 save percentage heading into the Rangers’ game against the Avalanche on Friday. ranks ninth among there are at least 15 starters. “It is very difficult to start the new season with these numbers. Everyone knows how I play. Having achieved this once again, I tried to forget the last season. Just focus on this year. Hopefully this year will be better for our team.”
The 26-year-old said he spent a lot of time watching film with Rangers goaltending director Benoit Allaire. The two identified areas that Shesterkin needed to work on and made that a focus of each practice. Shesterkin looked especially strong in the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the Golden Knights on Wednesday, when he stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced and had just the fifth shutout of the season. i conceded one goal or less.
Shesterkin will likely start in the midst of a four-game losing streak against an Avalanche team he and the Rangers lost to in a shootout earlier this season. A familiar face in Aleksandr Georgiev took aim at that goal and the emotion in his performance showed how much he wanted to beat his former team. Apply for a rescue game for Shesterkin.
“I feel good, but I’m just trying to keep working on my game, training hard,” Shesterkin said. “We’ll see what happens, but right now it’s not what I want to see. I want to play better.”