Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin, left, celebrates with teammate Mika Zibanejad...

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin, left, celebrates with teammate Mika Zibanejad after defeating the Canadiens in an NHL game Thursday in Montreal. Credit: AP/Graham Hughes

BUFFALO — They say it’s not how you start, but how you finish.

Igor Shesterkin had a rough start to the game on Thursday in Montreal, allowing a goal by third-pair defenseman Kaiden Guhle 35 seconds into the opening period to put the Rangers in an early hole. They would spend most of the first two periods falling behind, and then tying it up, before eventually winning in a shootout, 4-3.

Shesterkin couldn’t explain what happened on the Guhle goal, chalking it up to bad luck, but the 27-year-old goaltender was a rock in the third period and overtime and stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout.

“He had to make some big saves there in overtime, and down the stretch, and when they had a power play late, so he was he was big for us,’’ Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of Shesterkin, who made 23 saves overall.

Shesterkin said neither he nor the Rangers felt any pressure to beat a banged-up, rebuilding Canadiens team that held a 2-1 lead after one period.

“There were a lot of good words between the periods from [Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin] so we know what we needed to do,’’ he said.

What they needed to do was tighten up defensively, and cut down on those neutral zone turnovers that were leading to all those odd-man rushes.

They did to a degree, but Shesterkin also seemed to find himself in the third period. He made a glove stop on Rem Pitlick five minutes into the third, and stopped Josh Anderson on a breakaway 10 minutes in. He stopped three shots in overtime, two of them coming on a Canadiens power play over the final 1:27.

Shesterkin, who gave up four or more goals in four consecutive games from Feb. 15 to Feb. 25, said he feels better about his game now than he did then.

“I hope that I will feel much better the next game, and the next game,’’ he said.

Lindgren back at practice

Defenseman Ryan Lindgren practiced fully Friday for the first time since he suffered an upper-body injury Feb. 25 in Washington. Lindgren has missed five games, and while he could potentially return Saturday against the Sabres, Gallant wouldn’t promise that he would.

“Still day-to-day,’’ Gallant told reporters after practice. “We’re not sure yet. Him and [forward Tyler] Motte both.

“I don’t want to put any pressure on them [to return], and we want to make sure they’re ready to go, so we’ll see tomorrow, and hopefully it’s a good day.’’

Lindgren said it has “been tough’’ to sit out.

“It obviously sucks not playing,’’ he said. “You want to be out there, and you’ve got to be smart, too, and take your time and make sure when you do get back out there you’re feeling good. It’s never fun missing games like this and it just gets kind of boring… I just want to get back out there.’’

Blue notes

Chris Kreider, who missed three shifts in the third period Thursday, after apparently tweaking his right knee trying to check Montreal’s Rafael Harvey-Pinard, did not practice Friday. Maintenance, the Rangers called it.

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