New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin was sensational, stopping 40 of 41 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday.
The Maple Leafs controlled play throughout the game. During 5-on-5 play, the Maple Leafs controlled 57.8% of shot attempts and 63.4% of expected goals, outshooting the Rangers 41-23.
Artemi Panarin scored his first goals of the season at 3:48 of overtime to give the Rangers their second straight win. The Blueshirts defeated the Montreal Canadiens Saturday, a game in which Shesterkin stopped 31 of 32 shots on goal.
Overtime was full of outstanding scoring chances by some of the biggest stars on both sides. The Rangers winning goal came off a faceoff to the left of Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell. Mika Zibanejad worked the puck over to Artemi Panarin and Panarin fired it high on the blocker side past Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell.
Zibanejad got the Rangers on the board in the first period, tallying his first goal of the season. Ryan Reaves’ hard forecheck forced a turnover from Michael Bunting and Zibanejad quickly buried a wrist shot over Campbell’s glove at 13:49 of the first period.
Bunting bounced back and tied the game at 1:36 of the second period, with his second goal of the season. Morgan Rielly fired a wrist shot at the net and in a scramble for the loose puck Bunting shoveled the rebound past Igor Shesterkin. There may have been some concern about goaltender interference as Bunting was typically relentless in his drive to the net but the Rangers did not elect to challenge the goal.
Auston Matthews returned to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup, playing his first game of the season, and the star centre was dangerous for much of the game, recording 16 shot attempts and eight shots on goal in 22:52 of ice time.
Under most circumstances, giving the top goal-scorer in the league 16 shot attempts would seem like a path to multiple goals but it was not to be on this night. Igor Shesterkin had an answer for every Maple Leafs attack, and he was composed and under control in his movement. It was not a scrambling effort at all, rather it was the kind of sound performance that could make Shesterkin one of the top netminders in the league.
While the Rangers were outplayed for good portions of the game, their stars did create some chances. Panarin made a slick backhand pass to defenceman Nils Lundqvist, who snapped the puck off the crossbar at 6:23 of the first period.
Zibanejad had a point-blank shot with 3:56 left in the third. Campbell made the stop it but looked behind him, unsure of whether he made the save. Campbell also made a great glove save on Zibanejad on a 2-on-1 rush just before the faceoff that led to the game-winning goal.
Although he did not face the kind of shot volume that Shesterkin did, Campbell did see some quality chances and turned away 21 of 23 shots.
The Maple Leafs are 2-1-1 through four games and do not play against until Friday, when they host the San Jose Sharks.
More analysis and quotes from media availability coming to ToHN shortly.
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