The New York Rangers have announced that they will start rookie Igor Shesterkin between the pipes for their must-win contest Tuesday night versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Henrik Lundqvist started and lost the first two games (3-2 and 4-1) of the series, with Shesterkin deemed unfit to play.
The King’s 129th consecutive postseason start has come to an end, and team insider Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes his time with the Rangers has as well.
This is what Brooks wrote prior to the Rangers’ announcement on Tuesday:
“And unless something unforeseen develops — and that is the norm for 2020, is it not? — the King’s 129th consecutive postseason start probably will mark his last start , if not appearance, in the uniform of the team he had once carried for more than a decade.”
Lundqvist didn’t play badly in Game 2, but he wasn’t as sharp as in Game 1. As a team, the Rangers have struggled against the Hurricanes’ smothering forecheck. Shesterkin made his NHL debut in January and played a massive role in the Rangers’ second-half surge up the Eastern Conference standings. The 24-year-old goalie went 10-2 in 12 starts with a .932 save percentage and 2.52 goals against average.
However, the King believes he still has more to give the Rangers and their fanbase and wants to stay with the team for another go at the Stanley Cup.
In an interview with Johan Rylander for the Göteborgs-Posten in Sweden earlier this summer, Lundqvist reiterated his desire to regain his role in New York and continuing playing well beyond this season.
“I’m not blind. They’re thinking ahead,” Lundqvist said of the Rangers’ plans. “There are many pieces that go into building a team right now, but also for the future. You’re going to have to widen the view a little. But it wasn’t like I projected (losing the starting gig) for sure.
“Obviously, it is disappointing to not play as much as you want. That’s where the disappointment is. It’s more … not on them (the Rangers), but more that it became as it became. And if I not had been disappointed, then I sell myself short. I want to play, to deliver at a high level. If I don’t, I will be disappointed.”
Let’s see if his dream comes true or today marks the end…