This was an unthinkable scenario when New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin finished the regular season with a . 935 save percentage, making him the clear leader for the Vezina Trophy.
Shesterkin, who was named a finalist on Tuesday, carried that momentum into the playoffs while stopping 118 of the 124 shots he faced in his first two games with a .952 percentage. But since arriving in Pittsburgh, the 26-year-old has taken a nose dive. In Games 3 and 4 combined, he allowed 10 goals on 48 shots for an ugly save percentage of . 792 with the Rangers trailing in the series 3-1.
Penguins fans were unsympathetic, raining down chants of “We want Igor!” after he was snapped to start the third period.
“Maybe it’s really frustrating,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said after the 7-2 loss on Tuesday.
But while Shesterkin was the primary target of the harassment, he was not the only perpetrator. The second period saw one collapse after another, resulting in goals from Mike Matheson, Jake Guentzel, Mark Friedman, Danton Heinen and Jeff Carter.
Follow every match: Live NHL scores
Carrots:Coach Barry fired Trotz after missing the playoffs
Avalanche:Colorado sweeps the Predators to advance
“He’s just one of us,” said Rangers forward Andrew Cobb. “We didn’t play well against him. It wasn’t like that at all. It will be up to every player in the room to work together.”
The Penguins’ goals came in all different varieties — long wrist shots, long-range strikes, a five-hole head scratch — with the Rangers giving up 16 shots on goal and 12 high-risk scoring opportunities in just the second half, according to Natural Stat Trick.
“There was very little commitment to playing defense tonight,” Gallant said.
Goalkeeper Aleksandr Georgiev stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced in the third period, but the coach stopped any goalkeeping controversy in its tracks by committing to Shesterkin in game five.
“He’ll be back out there and ready to win the next game on Wednesday night,” Gallant said. “I have all the confidence in the world… I am more disappointed in our team than in him.”
The Capitals and Panthers coaches are not happy with the calls
The Capitals took a 2-1 lead Tuesday night when TJ Oshie tied the game with Sam Bennett, which led to Evgeny Kuznetsov’s breakaway goal.
Panthers coach Andrew Bronte was furious on the bench.
“Obviously it’s something (the league) will take a look at,” he said. “I didn’t like the blow. I thought it was aimed at the head.”
The Panthers forced overtime after the Capitals narrowly missed an empty net and won 3-2 on Carter Verhaig’s goal with Jonathan Huberdeau in the crease to tie the series at 2-2. The goal was confirmed after a review of the goalkeeper’s tackle.
“They said Lars (Eller) helped (Huberdeau) there,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think Lars was trying to get him out of there. The goalkeeper should be able to save.”
Samra was confident that the goal would count.
“It would be really difficult, in my opinion, to call that person back, so I wasn’t too worried,” he said. “But they have to do their due diligence.”
Introductory Lottery Book Project
Draft host Montreal Canadiens have the best chance of winning the lottery on Tuesday night and the right to the first overall pick. The lottery (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) will determine the top two picks in the July draft. All 16 non-playing teams will participate in the playoffs, but the maximum number of places a team can advance to is 10, meaning the 11th-place San Jose Sharks are the last team that could potentially be No. 1 overall.
Shane Wright is the best North American skater, and Juraj Slavkowski, who starred for Slovakia at the Olympics, is the best European skater.
Here are the odds: 1. Montreal Canadiens, 18.5%. 2- Arizona wolf, 13.5%. 3. Seattle Kraken 11.5%. 4. Philadelphia Flyers 9.5%. 5. New Jersey Devils, 8.5%. 6. Chicago Blackhawks * 7.5%. 7- Ottawa Senators, 6.5%. 8. Detroit Red Wings 6.0%. 9. Buffalo Sabers 5.0%. 10. Anaheim Ducks 3.5%. 11. San Jose Sharks 3.0%. 12- Columbus Blue Jackets 2.5%. 13. New York Islanders 2.0%. 14. Winnipeg Jets, 1.5%. 15. Vancouver Canucks 0.5%. 16. Vegas Golden Knights ** 0.5%
* – The pick will go to the Blue Jackets if it is not a Top 2 pick. ** – The pick will go to the Sabers if it is not a Top 10 pick.
Contributing: Mike Brehm, USA Today Sports