Igor Shesterkin has earned the right to be the New York Rangers’ No. 1 goalie, coach David Quinn said Thursday.
The 24-year-old rookie, who made his NHL debut Jan. 7, is 6-1-0 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in seven games.
Asked if Shesterkin had become New York’s No. 1 goalie, Quinn said, “Right now, that is the situation we’re in because of his play, for sure.
“You want to give everybody an opportunity and see how this thing unfolds. I thought everybody had an ample opportunity and everybody had a chance to state their case. I just felt that Igor had made the most impact.”
The Rangers have had three goalies on the roster since Shesterkin was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Jan. 6; Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev are the others.
Georgiev was the goalie for a 4-3 shootout win at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday because Shesterkin has a lower-body injury. Lundqvist will be the backup.
Georgiev is 3-2-0 with a 2.86 GAA and .901 save percentage in six games (five starts) since Shesterkin arrived. In 26 games (24 starts) this season, the 24-year-old is 13-11-1 with a 3.10 GAA and .908 save percentage.
Lundqvist is 1-2-0 with a 3.25 GAA and .885 save percentage in four games (three starts) since Shesterkin’s arrival. The 37-year-old is 10-11-3 with a 3.12 GAA and .907 save percentage in 28 games (25 starts).
The Rangers (29-23-4) are nine points behind the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue jackets for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Lundqvist had been New York’s No. 1 goalie since supplanting Kevin Weekes during the 2005-06 season. His 459 wins are sixth in NHL history, one behind Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for fifth. His 885 games played are ninth among goalies, one behind Tony Esposito for eighth. He’s the Rangers leader among goalies in games played, wins and shutouts (64). He won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL in 2012 and in 2014 helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994.
Lundqvist won at least 30 games in his first 11 full seasons (not counting the shortened 2012-13 season), and had 18 wins last season, the fewest of his NHL career. Prior to Shesterkin’s arrival, Lundqvist started 22 of the first 41 games, and Georgiev started 19.
NHL.com independent correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this report