Igor Shesterkin vs. Andrei Vassilevski: Destruction of the Rangers-Lightning goalkeepers

New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning were both tested during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now the two powers will fight for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup as they face the Eastern Conference final.

When the series starts on Wednesday night, perhaps the biggest storyline will be the historic goalkeepers ‘match between Lightning’s Andrei Vassilevsky and Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin. Here is the story of the two-star band:

Andrei Vassilevski in numbers

Vassilevski himself stole the show in the Eastern Conference semifinals when he helped his team easily deal with the top-ranked Florida Panthers. The 27-year-old goalkeeper kept the Panthers, who scored the NHL’s best 4.11 goals per game in the regular season, to just three goals in four games for the Presidential Trophy winners.

In a 2-0 victory over the Panthers in Match 4, Vassilevski rose to prominence, as he had done so many times before. The Lightning netminder stopped all 49 shots he faced while setting an NHL record with his sixth out in a clinch series. In Vassilevski’s last seven clinch games, he faced 200 shots and conceded just one goal.

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So far, Vassilevski has set a record of 8-3 in the playoffs to continue with 2.23 goals against the average and 0.932 percent of the save. The lightning scored only 25 goals in 11 starts.

Vassilevski is already one of the greatest of all time. He has already amassed 57 playoff wins, which puts him at number 17 on the all-time playoff wins list. Ironically, Vassilevsky has just four wins since equalizing former Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist to 15th place in the all-time playoff list. Speaking of Lundqvist …

Igor Shesterkin in numbers

The Rangers managed to make a smooth transition from their legendary goalkeeper to Shesterkin. Lundqvist’s last season in New York came in the 2019-20 campaign and Shesterkin was already showing how much potential he has.

This season, the 24-year-old Shesterkin has established himself as one of the leading goalkeepers in the league.

Shesterkin proved to be a strength in the net throughout the regular season and was named a finalist in the Vezina Trophy as one of the best goalkeepers in the NHL. The Rangers netmaker had a record of 36-13-4 and scored the best in the league, 2.07 goals against the average and 0.935 percent save.

The only real question mark when it came to Shesterkin was the lack of experience after the season. He had only one start in the playoffs, which was against Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the qualifying round during the shortened COVID-19 season in 2020. Inexperience showed earlier this post-season against the Penguins, as Shesterkin scored 3.57 goals against an average of seven games – although he broke the Rangers’ record of 79 shots in a 4-3 overtime in Game 1.

However, Shesterkin bounced significantly against Carolina, scoring 1.71 goals against the average in seven games. In addition, the Rangers goalkeeper conceded just one goal in three of those games and conceded just over two goals in one game against Hurricanes.

It is no secret that both Vassilevsky and Shesterkin play with great confidence and have looked downright elite in recent weeks. They will have to continue to play this way, as both violations score almost three and a half goals per competition.

This series is expected to be the exact opposite of the Western Conference final, where goals will be scored on the left and right. The final of the Eastern Conference will be entirely about the game between the holes and there are two star players on the net who could hold the keys to their respective teams that are advancing to play for the Lord Stanley Cup.

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