Shesterkin, Rangers shut out Flyers in OT win
NEW YORK — Igor Shesterkin made 19 saves, Chris Kreider scored on a breakaway with 53 seconds left overtime, and the New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Mika Zibanejad moved the puck up to Kreider, catching the forward in stride in the neutral zone for a breakaway. Kreider then deked to his backhand and put the puck in between Flyers goalie Carter Hart‘s left skate and the right post.
“I thought Mika was going to come with me,” Kreider said. “A little panic set in when I saw he was just giving it to me and letting me take it. I tried to shoot low blocker earlier in the game, so I figured I would try to fake it and go backhand. Thankfully it worked out. I thought we could have had a bunch more tonight, we just weren’t getting the bounces.”
Shesterkin preserved the win and his first shutout of the season by making a windmill glove save on Kevin Hayes from the left face-off circle with 2:27 remaining in regulation. He also stopped the Flyers forward 1:16 later when he reached back with his glove at the right post.
“It would have been tough for us to lose that game,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “That’s the way it goes. The goaltending played outstanding. [Shesterkin] was real good at the end. It was a battle.”
The Rangers (6-3-2) have won three games in a row after losing four straight (0-2-2).
They also won 6-3 at the Dallas Stars on Saturday and 3-2 at the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. In the two games prior to the winning streak, they outshot the New York Islanders 41-29 but lost 3-0, and had 46 shots on goal against the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-2 shootout loss.
“We have been creating those chances the last couple games here starting with the Colorado game at home, but when the results don’t go with you, then we start questioning the amount of shots and the amount of chances,” Zibanejad said. “But today we just keep playing. We keep playing the way we want to. They play well to their game plan and how they want to play, and we found a way to stop that and play to our strengths. You wish to see a couple more go in and not have to go to overtime, but we’ll take the two points and move on.”
Hart made 35 saves for the Flyers (5-2-2).
“Great again,” Philadelphia defenseman Tony DeAngelo said of Hart. “Obviously, the big reason we got the point in my opinion. The post helped us out a little bit tonight to get a point, but Carter has been great, so we’ve got to keep relying on him. Actually, we need to rely on him less.”
The Rangers controlled play for most of the first two periods, outshooting the Flyers 23-11, including 14-4 in the second, and holding a 50-23 advantage in attempts. They hit the post on three of their 17 missed shots through 40 minutes.
Vincent Trocheck hit the left post on a net-front redirection at 8:18 of the first period, Zibanejad had a slap shot go off the post at 12:17 of the second period, and Kreider’s shot on a short-handed breakaway found iron 2:30 later.
Alexis Lafreniere also hit the left post with a backhand from the slot at 5:13 of the third period.
Philadelphia coach John Tortorella called the second period “a major struggle,” but he also said periods like that are to be expected early in the season, especially without veteran forwards Sean Couturier, James van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson in the lineup.
Couturier is out 3-4 months following back revision surgery on Thursday. Van Riemsdyk underwent surgery to repair a broken left index finger Friday, and Atkinson has not played this season because of an upper-body injury.
“We got some guys that it’s baptism by fire here against one of the top teams in the League,” Tortorella said. “We start off the period with a couple turnovers. They gain some momentum on a power play and we’re chasing our tail. It’s going to happen. We’re going to have to live through it. Carter is going to have to play like he did tonight in certain times of games when we’re in that mode. He’s going to have to keep us in there and we just have to try to find a way after that. I thought our third period was much better.”
New York outshot Philadelphia 6-0 in overtime and finished with a 73-40 advantage in attempts, including the four shots that went off the post.
“That’s obviously four good looks, opportunities,” New York captain Jacob Trouba said. “Obviously, it’s good to win games when you get those opportunities and they’re not going in, but hopefully those start going in for us and things start getting better on that front. It’s not bad. We’re generating the shots and the opportunities. Just keep doing what we’re doing, they’ll go.”
NOTES: Rangers forward Filip Chytil missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury and forward Vitali Kravtsov missed his second in a row with an upper-body injury. … Hart is 5-0-2 in seven starts. It is the fourth-best record to start a season in Flyers history, behind Pete Peeters (22-0-5 in 1979-80), Bob Froese (9-0-1 in 1982-83 and 7-0-0 in 1985-86) and Dominic Roussel (8-0-0 in 1993-94).