Igor Shesterkin practiced Sunday and could be available to play for the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday (Noon ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, SN360, TVAS, FS-CR, MSG).
The rookie goalie was ruled unfit to play in the opener of the best-of-5 series Saturday. Henrik Lundqvist started and made 34 saves in a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes.
As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
Coach David Quinn said after practice that he wasn’t sure if Shesterkin would be available Monday and that he hadn’t made a decision on which goalie would play.
Shesterkin was 10-2-0 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in 12 starts after being called up from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Jan. 7.
Lundqvist went 10-12-3 with a 3.16 GAA and a .905 save percentage in 30 games (26 starts) this season, his 15th in the NHL, all with the Rangers. He went 3-0-0 with a 2.33 GAA and a .947 save percentage in three games against the Hurricanes this season and entered with strong numbers in 46 games against them (33-12-1, 2.00, .934).
“I feel for Igor and we’ll see what happens here in the next couple of days, but I’m just happy I got an opportunity to play,” said Lundqvist, who made his 128th consecutive postseason start for New York since 2006, third most in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur with the New Jersey Devils (194 straight starts from 1994-2012) and Patrick Roy with the Colorado Avalanche (133 consecutive starts from 1996-2003). “I enjoy it. I enjoy being out there to compete. Obviously, we didn’t get the win, but I think we did a lot of good things. We’ll watch some video, learn from this and I’m sure we’ll be better for the next one.”
The other option for the Rangers is Alexandar Georgiev, who was the backup to Lundqvist on Saturday. He was 17-14-2 with a 3.04 GAA and a .910 save percentage this season but did not play in the four games against Carolina.
Lundqvist said he felt good Saturday and is prepared to start Game 2. He made 11 saves in the first period and 10 in the second, including stopping Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele on a breakaway at 5:37. He made 13 saves in the third period.
“I take every start as an opportunity to play the game, enjoy the game and try to help the team,” Lundqvist said. “I felt like I was moving well. There’s a couple of things that I need to adjust for next game if I get an opportunity to play. We’ll see.
“Physically, technically and mentally I’m in a good place.”
Jesper Fast will not play in Game 2 against the Hurricanes. The forward did not return after leaving Game 1 shortly after absorbing a big hit by Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei in the first minute of the game.
Rookie Kaapo Kakko took Fast’s spot on a line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome at practice. Quinn said Kakko could be on that line in Game 2.
“That’s something we’re certainly kicking around,” Quinn said.
Forwards Vitali Kravtsov and Steven Fogarty, who did not play in the series opener, practiced Sunday and one could join the lineup Monday.
Center Mika Zibanejad and defenseman Tony DeAngelo did not practice, but will play in Game 2.