This was an unthinkable scenario when New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin finished the regular season with a .935 save percentage, making him the clear front-runner for the Vezina Trophy.
Shesterkin, who will be one of the three finalists announced this week, carried that momentum into the playoffs while stopping 118 of the 124 shots he faced in the first two games for a .952 percentage. But since arriving in Pittsburgh, the 26-year-old has taken a nose dive. In Games 3 and 4 combined, he allowed 10 goals on 48 shots for an unsightly save percentage of .792 as the Rangers fell behind in the series 3-1.
Penguins fans were unsympathetic, raining down chants of “We want Igor!” after he was yanked to begin the third period.
“He’s probably really frustrated,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said after Tuesday’s 7-2 loss.
But while Shesterkin was the primary target of the heckling, he was far from the only culprit. The second period featured one breakdown after another, resulting in goals from Mike Matheson, Jake Guentzel, Mark Friedman, Danton Heinen and Jeff Carter.
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“He’s just one of us,” Rangers forward Andrew Copp said. “We weren’t playing very good in front of him. It definitely wasn’t on him at all. It’s going to be up to every guy in the room to pull together.”
The Penguins’ goals came in all different varieties — long-range wrist shots, far-post tap-ins, five-hole head-scratchers — with the Rangers surrendering 16 shots on goal and 12 high-danger scoring chances in second period alone, according to Natural Stat Trick.
“There wasn’t much commitment to playing defense tonight,” Gallant said.
Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced in the third, but the coach stopped any goalie controversy in its tracks by committing to Shesterkin for Game 5.
“He’ll be back in there and he’ll be ready to win the next game on Wednesday night,” Gallant said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world. … I’m disappointed more in our team than him.”
Capitals, Panthers coaches unhappy with calls
Panthers coach Andrew Brunette was irate on the bench.
“It’s obviously something (the league is) probably going to take a look at,” he said. “I didn’t like the hit. I thought it was targeted to the head.”
The Panthers forced overtime after the Capitals hit the post on an empty net and won 3-2 on a Carter Verhaeghe goal with Jonathan Huberdeau in the crease to tie the series 2-2. The goal was confirmed after a review for goalie interference.
“They said that Lars (Eller) helped (Huberdeau) in there,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think Lars was trying to get him out of there. The goaltender’s got to be able to make a save.”
Brunette was confident the goal would count.
“It’d be really hard, in my opinion, to call that one back, so I wasn’t overly concerned,” he said. “But they have to do their due diligence.”
Draft lottery primer
The draft host Montreal Canadiens have the best chance to win Tuesday night’s lottery and the right to pick first overall. The lottery (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) will determine the first two picks in the July draft. All 16 non-playoff teams will take part, but the maximum places a team can move up is 10, meaning the 11th-place San Jose Sharks are the last team that could possibly draft No. 1 overall.
Shane Wright is the top-ranked North American skater and Juraj Slafkovsky, who starred for Slovakia at the Olympics, is the top European skater.
Here are the odds: 1. Montreal Canadiens, 18.5%. 2. Arizona Coyotes, 13.5%. 3. Seattle Kraken, 11.5%. 4. Philadelphia Flyers, 9.5%. 5. New Jersey Devils, 8.5%. 6. Chicago Blackhawks*, 7.5%. 7. Ottawa Senators, 6.5%. 8. Detroit Red Wings, 6.0%. 9. Buffalo Sabres, 5.0%. 10. Anaheim Ducks, 3.5%. 11. San Jose Sharks, 3.0%. 12. Columbus Blue Jackets, 2.5%. 13. New York Islanders, 2.0%. 14. Winnipeg Jets, 1.5%. 15. Vancouver Canucks, 0.5%. 16. Vegas Golden Knights**, 0.5%
*-The pick will go to the Blue Jackets if it’s not a top 2 pick. **-The pick will go to the Sabres if it’s not a top 10 pick.
Contributing: Mike Brehm, USA TODAY Sports
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NHL playoffs: Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin pulled again against Penguins
Jacob deGrom having follow-up MRI on Monday
The Mets said on May 10 that deGrom had started throwing, with GM Billy Eppler specifying that deGrom was “out to 60 feet at light intensity.”
If the news after deGrom’s follow-up MRI is good, the expectation is that he’ll be able to ramp up further.
The news that deGrom was throwing followed positive MRI results on his right shoulder that were revealed on April 25, and the Mets said on the 25th that deGrom would receive a follow-up MRI in approximately three weeks.
At the time, deGrom’s MRI and CT scans showed “considerable healing” of his stress reaction, which led to him being cleared to “begin loading and strengthening of the shoulder.”
DeGrom has been out since April 1 and was transferred to the 60-day IL on May 10 — the same day Eppler said he had started throwing. The 60-day move had no bearing on deGrom’s timeline since he was never returning before the second week of June anyway.
On March 31, with spring training nearing a close, deGrom reported shoulder tightness. He was placed on the IL the next day, after an initial MRI revealed the injury.
“Most scapula stress fractures that are caught early heal relatively reliably if the player strictly adheres to the rest and rehab protocol,” Deepak Chona, MD, a Stanford-trained orthopedic sports surgeon and founder of SportsMedAnalytics who does not personally treat deGrom, told SNY in April when discussing deGrom’s injury. “Any time there is an extended period off followed by a ramp back up, there is an accompanying risk of overdoing it and having a setback. However, as long as deGrom progresses slowly, you should expect a full recovery of his prior pitching performance with respect to both velocity and control.
“Furthermore, once he’s back, I wouldn’t expect this to act up again midseason. DeGrom at age 33 is not exactly young for an MLB pitcher, but he’s shown the ability to bounce back before. We have no reason to expect this to be much different.”
At the moment, the Mets’ rotation consists of Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. Tylor Megill, who is on the IL with biceps inflammation, could return as soon as his 15-day stint is up on May 27.
Golf legend Tom Watson engaged to marry former CBS Sports executive LeslieAnne Wade
Golf legend Tom Watson is engaged to marry a longtime CBS Sports executive. The eight-time major champion became formally engaged to LeslieAnne Wade on May 7 while on a visit to the University of Notre Dame, where Ms. Wade was attending a reunion with her college roommates.
The couple plans to marry on July 9 in New Jersey before traveling to the Open Championship in St. Andrews. Ms. Wade confirmed the engagement and wedding date to Golfweek but declined further comment. The pair have known each other for 15 years.
Watson, 72, is a Hall of Famer and 39-time winner on the PGA Tour. His eight major titles include five Open victories, two Masters and a U.S. Open. His late wife, Hilary, died after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer in 2019.
Ms. Wade has been a widely respected fixture in the golf world for decades. She served as a Senior Vice President of Communications at CBS Sports and currently works with the Endeavor agency and for White Tee Partners, a women-owned marketing agency she co-founded. Her first marriage ended in divorce some years ago.
Watson retired from competitive golf in 2019 after an almost 50-year career during which he won 70 titles and twice captained the United States in the Ryder Cup.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Five players who can help you with stolen bases
Does your fantasy baseball team need speed? Here are some players to add who should help in stolen bases moving forward.
Eli White, OF, Texas Rangers (2%)
White hit leadoff over the final two games of the weekend series and is up to seven steals over just 38 at bats this season. White is a 28-year-old without much long-term upside but hit well in Triple-A last season, and his current .237 batting average hides a .370 OBP and a 129 wRC+. Moreover, White’s strong defense should lead to a continued everyday role, and Texas is giving the green light, as the Rangers have the third-most SBs this year. Only seven players have more steals than White this season, and all of them have 100+ ABs (White has 38).
Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS/OF, Baltimore Orioles (39%)
Mateo is tied for the MLB lead with 10 steals, so he shouldn’t still be available in so many Yahoo leagues. The new left field dimensions have transformed Camden Yards from arguably the best park in baseball for power into arguably the worst park in baseball for homers, but Mateo possesses “80” speed and should continue to run wild on the base paths. With Adalberto Mondesi out for the season, Mateo has a real chance to lead baseball in steals.
Vidal Bruján, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays (6%)
Bruján has struggled badly over a limited MLB sample, but he should get an opportunity now with Manuel Margot and Brandon Lowe on the IL. Bruján swiped 44 bags (with 12 homers) over just 103 games at Triple-A last season, and he had attempted a whopping 11 stolen bases over just 16 games there this year. Moreover, Tampa Bay is leading MLB by a wide margin in SB attempts, as they are the only team in baseball attempting more than one per game. In other words, Bruján’s SB upside is massive, which would be extra helpful in such a scarce category given how many other later speed options like Jonathan Villar, Akil Baddoo, Garrett Hampson and Victor Robles (among others) have been busts.
Nick Senzel, 2B/OF, Cincinnati Reds (4%)
Senzel is expected to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and should be back in Cincinnati soon. He’s been a major disappointment with the Reds (and is without a steal this season), but this is still a former No. 2 pick entering his prime with a strong enough minor league resume that THE BAT X projects a .272 BA (109 wRC+) with nine homers and 11 stolen bases over 360 ABs rest of season. Senzel is 2B/OF eligible, swiped 14 bases over just 375 ABs as a rookie (and his Sprint Speed is in the 83rd percentile) and gets to play in the second-best hitter’s park in baseball, so he’s well worth stashing in fantasy leagues.
Andrew Velazquez, SS, Los Angeles Angels (1%)
Velazquez is quietly up to six steals on the year, and his elite defense at shortstop should help keep his bat in LA’s lineup. He swiped 29 bags over just 264 at bats in Triple-A last season, and the Angels are among the league leaders in SBs this season. Velazquez is more of a deep league option, but he’s a middle infielder getting regular playing time who’s running. And his .190 batting average comes with an average exit velocity that’s actually in the 72nd percentile. Velazquez is another option for those desperate for speed.
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