NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers needed a top-flight performance from their starting goalie and Igor Shesterkin gave them one from start to finish against the Calgary Flames.
Shesterkin stopped 30 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Rangers beat the Flames 2-0 on Monday night for their fifth straight win.
Will Cuylle and Jimmy Vesey scored for the first-place Rangers, who are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. Shesterkin recorded his 12th career NHL shutout and second straight win to improve to 21-12-1 on the season.
“I just want to have fun and stop the puck,″ Shesterkin said. ”It was an important night for me. I felt great.”
Jacob Markstrom finished with 29 saves as the Flames had their four-game win streak halted.
After a scoreless first period and several dazzling saves by Markstrom, Cuylle finally broke through with 7:29 remaining in the second as he slid a loose puck past the goalie in the crease for his ninth goal.
“I was just trying to get to the net,″ Cuylle said of the play which led to his goal. “Shesty played amazing and it was an all-around great effort for our team. Obviously, it felt great to get the winner.”
Vesey had an empty-netter with 19 seconds remaining in the third for his 12th to seal the win.
“We've been stressing our defence coming out of the break,'' Vesey said. ”Hot team and a lot of firepower up front. Good effort for us. It was a gritty win."
Shesterkin's best late-game save was swatting away a high shot by Flames' defenceman Rasmus Andersson three minutes into the third period.
The 28-year-old Russian goalie has struggled at times this season and recently gave way to backup Jonathan Quick, who started and won three straight games. Shesterkin returned for last Friday’s 4-3 overtime win at Chicago before his shutout performance against the Flames.
“Everyone knew he would get back to the way he plays. Everyone goes through slumps, it’s just more noticeable when it’s a goalie and everyone’s eyes see it more,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. “The confidence you see in him, that’s who he is when he’s feeling it."
The Rangers went 0-for-3 on the power play to extend their slump to 0-for-17 over the last seven games.
Markstrom denied Rangers forwards Vincent Trocheck and Blake Wheeler from in close late in the first, then stopped Wheeler again five minutes into the second.
“It wasn't our best game but it was tight until the end,'' Flames captain Mikael Backlund said. ”Both goalies played really well tonight."
Markstrom also made a pad stop on Brodzinski 12 minutes into the second just before Cuylle’s goal and smothered a shot by Alexis Lafreniere with 3:50 left in the middle period to keep it one-goal game. Lafreniere nearly scored short-side on Markstrom early in the third but the puck bounced off the post.
“We had a really slow start and Jacob kept us in the game during the first period for sure,″ Flames coach Ryan Huska said. ”Their goaltender played well, too. He made some key saves at key times."
Flames: Return home to host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Rangers: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL
Allan Kreda, The Associated Press