After being unfit to play the first two games of the series, Igor Shesterkin was in the net for Game 3, with the Rangers’ backs very much pressed up against the wall.
“Obviously he’s ready to go and [anyone] we put in the net, we think he’ll give us the best chance to win,’’ coach David Quinn said in his pregame Zoom chat with reporters. “That’s why we went with Shesty tonight.’’
Shesterkin, who went 10-2, with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage, in the regular season, was supposed to start Game 1 of the series Saturday, but something came up late Friday that forced Quinn to turn to Henrik Lundqvist. Shesterkin, declared “unfit to play,’’ missed Game 2 on Monday, as well.
Lundqvist allowed seven goals in two games, stopping 64 of 71.
Lemieux draws start
Brendan Lemieux, suspended for the first two games of the postseason for his illegal hit on Colorado’s Joonas Donskoi in the last game before the NHL pause, was back in the lineup, taking the place of Steven Fogarty, who played Game 2 after Jesper Fast was knocked out of Game 1 by a heavy hit from former Ranger Brady Skjei. Lemieux in and Fogarty out was the only lineup change Quinn made.
Lemieux played 59 games in the regular season, collecting six goals, 12 assists and 111 penalty minutes, by far the most on the team.
The Rangers were the designated home team for Game 3 in Toronto, meaning they got to wear their blue shirts and they got the last line change. Carolina, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, was the home team for the first two games… Before the game, the NHL announced starting times for Thursday’s games. Game 4 of the Rangers-Hurricanes series, if necessary, would be played at noon.