Rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin was the starting goalie for the New York Rangers when they faced potential elimination from the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Tuesday, but he couldn’t stop it…
The Rangers fell 4-1 at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, who swept the best of five qualifying series in just three games, moving on to the first official round of the postseason where they await their rivals. The Rangers are the first team to get eliminated: they'll have 12.5% odds of winning the No. 1 draft pick in Monday's lottery.
Both the Rangers and Hurricanes met up at centre ice to exchange fist bumps over gloves despite many people believing the NHL would disallow it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was great to see that some traditions don’t die.
This is quite a huge blow for the Blue Shirts, who had managed to win all contests against the Canes in the shortened regular season.
Henrik Lundqvist was the starting net minder for the first two games of the series, losing 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.
Some people believe this might have been the last time we have seen The King in a Rangers’ uniform… Only time will tell. First, the Rangers need to swallow this elimination.