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Bobrovsky vs. Shesterkin Is Super Intriguing 

When the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers take the ice at Madison Square Garden, a lot of the series focus will be on the two netminders. Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Igor Shesterkin. I’ve had the pleasure of covering both of these guys, Moreso Bobrovsky and I have a few things to note about both of them. 

The minute Bobrovsky hit the NHL, I have been intrigued with his mental game. I used to get tidbits about how he trained and what he thought about his play that wasn’t for public consumption and that helped me understand the man.  

While most were railing about his inflated salary when his play dipped, I knew he could play better. I’ve seen plenty of goalies go through the ebbs and flows of the business and no goalie doesn’t have a few off years in their careers.  

Bobrovsky is a two-time Vezina winner. A lot of goalies can’t say that. His high win total was 41 in 2016-17 where he had a .931 save percentage with the BlueJackets. He won a Vezina that season. Then he had some off seasons and since he won 39 games in 2021-22, he’s mostly been back. It wasn’t until the playoffs in 2022-23 that he was his old self playing 19 games and getting 12 wins with a .915 save percentage. The Cup was tough but he’s rebounded this year. He hasn’t overplayed the puck in the playoffs and his aggression meter has been just right. Bobrovsky isn’t trying to do too much and he’s covering up pucks the best he can in traffic. He currently has eight wins in the playoffs and he’s ready to take on the Rangers. 

Shesterkin Has Gotten it Together 

A lot of people were ripping Shesterkin for not being himself this season. Statistically, it was his worst season since he was a starter. However, the NHL average save percentage is .904 and he was .912. That’s very respectable but not by his standards. And that’s the key here. His standards are so high that fans and the media can never get to him. He does it to himself. Shesterkin is that guy who feels It’s his obligation to win every game and be the best. That’s what drives him. Shesterkin has eight wins in the playoffs as well.  

Shesterkin photo by Sportsology

Shesterkin has been the team’s best penalty killer. Like all the greats. His save percentage is .932 playing a man down. Bobrovsky has a .923 in that situation. To me, this is one of the big reasons for the Rangers having the third-best PK % in the playoffs. Florida is sixth. Both Russians are already, all-time greats. Shesterkin is the better goalie even though he only has one Vezina, more to come for sure.

There will be some crazy bounces in these playoffs. Both teams will be getting strong goaltending. 

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