G75 New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers: High stakes hockey
With a win, and some help, the Devils could be as little as one point back of top spot in the Metro. A regulation loss, however, would bring the Rangers into a tie with the Devils in points.
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A few notes to get you set for tonight’s monstrous game between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers:
The great equalizer
Igor Shesterkin predictably has not been as good as he was a year ago. His save percentage has dipped from .935 to .914, he’s allowed an extra goal for every two appearances, and he sits eighth in Goals Saved Above Expected (last year he ranked 1st by a mile).
That all being said, he has still performed very well this season. His save percentage remains drastically above league average (.899) and a top-10 ranking in GSAE is hardly something to ignore. He has mostly been solid; and he’s hit a new gear of late.
Since February 26th – arbitrary cutoff, I know – Shesterkin owns a .938 save percentage at 5v5. That ranks him 5th among 39 eligible netminders, behind only the tandems in Minnesota and Boston.
He grades out even better when looking at high-danger chances. Shesterkin has managed a ridiculous .911 save percentage against Grade A shots, slotting him 3rd in the league.
Think about that for a second. Over the last month and change, Shesterkin has saved better than nine out of every 10 high-danger shots. Insanity.
The Devils are getting one of the league’s best, and hottest, goaltenders at a time where they can’t really get anything to go.
Over the last 10 games, the Devils rank 4th in expected goals and 23rd in actual goals. That’s because they slot 27th in shooting percentage.
For one reason or another – bad luck, a string of top goaltenders faced (Sorokin, Gustavsson, Vasilevskiy x3, etc.) – the Devils have not put away their chances of late.
We know they have the high-end talent necessary to score goals and generating opportunities is rarely an issue. They have to start putting them away, though.
While I’m not concerned about scoring in the long haul – they have way too much talent not to – they’ll let a chance at the division, and perhaps even home ice, slip away if they can’t flip the switch very soon.
New Jersey should earn a healthy edge in chances against New York tonight. They have to find a way to make ‘em count.
Almost there, Lindy!
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