GREENBURGH – The way Igor Shesterkin looks at the Rangers’ 6-2 loss Tuesday in Ottawa, the whole thing was his fault.
“It's a goalie's job to stop the puck,’’ Shesterkin said after the team returned to practice Thursday. “It doesn't matter if it's odd man rushes or outside shots. You just need to do your job. Just stop the puck. So, last game, I didn't do my job well. But I have to just keep going. Keep working.’’
But if Shesterkin (who has allowed 15 goals in his last five games) thought the loss was on him, he was the only one.
“If we're going to talk about the last game, the responsibility has to be on us to play a cleaner, better game than what we did defensively,’’ coach Peter Laviolette said. “Because [allowing] breakaways and two-on-ones and three-on ones -- we've got to keep the numbers behind the rush. And we have to defend the rush. And then when we come back in the ‘D’ zone coverage, there's things that we can do as well. And so that's on us to be better.
“I think after a loss, everybody wants to be better,’’ Laviolette continued. “I can't say why [Shesterkin] said that, but I look at it as our team, we have two good goaltenders. We've got to play a good solid brand of defense in front of them.’’
Forward Jimmy Vesey was asked if he thought part of the reason the Rangers allowed so many odd-man rushes is because they have so much faith in Shesterkin to bail them out.
“We've had great goaltending all year, so it would be easy to do that and open the game up and trade chances,’’ Vesey said. “But that's not what we want to do. It's not what's going to be successful for us at the end of the year. And frankly, it's not fair to Igor. I would say the way we played in Ottawa was unfair to Igor.’’
Laviolette returns to Washington
After finishing three games in four nights Tuesday, the Rangers had Wednesday off and returned to practice Thursday. Their next game is Saturday night in Washington against Laviolette’s most recent former team, the Capitals.
“My time in Washington was really good,’’ Laviolette said. “I worked with really good players and a really good city for a really good organization. I've been fortunate in my career to work in some great places under those circumstances … [and] like most places I've been, I really enjoyed it. The players were a group of guys, the fan base is real… ownership, and the team were really strong.
“My career has bounced me around into different places – some would look at it as maybe a negative, [but] I look at it as positive, where I got to go to these really cool places and spend time, and do something that I love.’’
Forward Barclay Goodrow, who left Tuesday’s game after taking a puck to the mouth late in the first period, and Chris Kreider both did not practice. Goodrow was out with an upper-body injury, the team said, and Kreider was out with a lower-body injury. Both players were classified as “day-to-day’’ by the team. Laviolette said “we'll see where everybody's at’’ Friday ... After practice, the Rangers called up F Riley Nash from AHL Hartford … Center Filip Chytil, out since Nov. 3 with an upper-body injury (thought to be a concussion) still has not skated with the team. Laviolette said Chytil is “moving in the right direction,’’ and said he does expect him to return to action at some point.