Igor Shesterkin, with latest shutout, back in Vezina form

With 33 saves in the Rangers’ 6-0 thrashing of the Penguins on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, goalie Igor Shesterkin recorded his second shutout of the season and his first since Nov. 1.

The victory, Shesterkin’s 32nd win of the season and his fifth in a row, also was the 10th time he has blanked a team in his four-year NHL career.

“It means a lot to me, of course,” Shesterkin said. “I’m so happy right now.”

Even though his workload seemed to dwindle as the game went on, Shesterkin was sharp from start to finish.

He made back-to-back saves on the Penguins’ Rickard Rackell and Jake Guentzel in the first period before he denied Drew O’Connor from the slot at the end of the second.

Shesterkin only had to make eight saves in the final 20 minutes, but he didn’t give the Penguins much space to work with.

Igor Shesterkin
Corey Sipkin

The last handful of games have been some of Shesterkin’s best performances of the season.

He has finished with a save percentage above .900 in each of the last four games, as well as in six of the last eight contests.

Stopping 146 of the 155 shots he has faced in the last five games, Shesterkin has shown shades of his Vezina Trophy-winning performance from last season.

“He’s been in a pretty good rhythm in the last two weeks or roughly three weeks,” head coach Gerard Gallant said after the win, which improved the Rangers to 40-19-10. “He’s played really well. [Jaroslav] Halak is going to go [Sunday night against the Predators], obviously. He’s played real well, too.

“Goaltending is a big part of it going down the stretch here. Keep playing well and keep trying to win hockey games.”

After backstopping the Rangers to a 5-3 win over the Capitals earlier this week, Shesterkin became just the second goaltender to reach the 30-win mark this season.

Shesterkin was also the first Rangers goaltender to record consecutive 30-win seasons since Henrik Lundqvist did it four seasons in a row from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

Ryan Lindgren (shoulder injury) was sidelined for the 10th straight game.

After squaring off with the Predators on Sunday night, the Rangers will have the day off on Monday before they return to game action on Tuesday against the Hurricanes at the Garden.