SEATTLE — In Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime setback to the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena, goaltender Igor Shesterkin helped the Rangers salvage a point.
The Rangers cannot afford to squander a fantastic effort from Shesterkin, who has not been able to do it as frequently as he did at the beginning of last season. Prior to Justin Schultz’s game-winning goal in overtime, Shesterkin had been particularly adept at sliding over the crease. He finished the game with 30 saves on 33 shots.
When asked if his team needs two points when Shesterkin is on like he was Thursday night, Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant responded, “Absolutely.” “He was decent. He made some outstanding and crucial saves, particularly in the second period when the score was 1-1. He kept us in the game, and we eventually found a way to get a point. But that is not adequate. We are superior to that.”
Daniel Sprong is denied by Igor Shesterkin during the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Kracken.
Shesterkin was the only thing preventing the Kraken from scoring multiple goals in the second period, in which Seattle outshot the visitors 16-5 and dominated play for the majority of the period. Shesterkin stopped a strong shot from Schultz a minute and a half into the middle period, before Matty Beniers rang a shot off the post. Later, the Russian goaltender stopped Daniel Sprong on a breakaway.
After the loss in overtime, Shesterkin’s season record is currently 8-2-3.
The last time Libor Hajek played this many consecutive games was from mid-December to early January of the previous season.
Hajek, who skated in his sixth consecutive game against the Kraken on Thursday night, did not play in 59 of the following 67 contests, including all 20 postseason games in 2021-22. Gerard Gallant, the head coach of the Rangers, guaranteed Hajek that he would not receive as little playing time as he did last season, and so far the club has fulfilled its word.
Hajek told The Post after the Rangers’ optional morning skate at Climate Pledge Arena, “It’s been a long since I’ve played that many consecutive games.” “I am simply attempting to enjoy every game. I believe my only requirement is confidence. Every game must be excellent, so as to be consistent. Simply working on it and being the best member of the team to help it win.”
The 24-year-old defenseman stated that he has attempted to focus on the minor aspects and keep his game simple, as instructed by the coaching staff. Hajek has done rather well in the nine games he has played thus far, but Thursday night was not one of his best. Given his little playing time during the previous season, it will likely be some time before Hajek can make significant strides.
Gallant stated that Hajek’s recent run of games has been quite good for him. “It’s not looking good for [Zac Jones]. Here, he has the opportunity to go on a bit of a run. He has played solid hockey, which is what you desire. This competition has been ongoing for an entire year. We like them both. Obviously, we are delighted with our defense. Existence is as it is.
“Jonesy will receive a second opportunity. When he does, you must play well and solidly. He is a youthful athlete.”
On Thursday, Jones was a healthy scratch for the fourth consecutive game.
The Rangers employed the same lineup against the Kraken on Thursday as they did in their 4-1 victory against the Coyotes at Madison Square Garden last weekend… Six times this season and five times in the last six games, Ryan Reaves has been inactive.