NEW YORK (AP)Igor Shesterkin is making quite the impression on the New York Rangers.
The rookie goaltender just keeps winning.
Shesterkin made 42 saves for his fifth win in six starts, and the Rangers beat the hapless Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Sunday night.
Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko and Greg McKegg scored for New York, which won for the fourth time in its last six games. Tony DeAngelo had an empty-netter, and Filip Chytil had two assists.
Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the 24-year-old Shesterkin has recorded 101 wins in his 126 appearances in the NHL, AHL and Russia’s KHL.
”He’s got a track record that is pretty impressive and he’s playing with confidence and swagger,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. ”He’s got all of that.”
Panarin and Kakko helped the Rangers put it away in the third.
The 18-year-old Kakko made it 2-0 with his eighth of the season 9:20 into the period. It was the first goal since Jan. 2 for the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft.
”I’m always trying as hard as I can,” Kakko said. ”Hopefully there are more goals coming.”
Los Angeles got one back when Trevor Moore scored at 10:47. It was Moore’s first goal since he was acquired in a trade with Toronto on Wednesday.
Panarin added his team-best 28th goal at 17:12 before Angelo fired home an empty-netter with 2:11 left. It was DeAngelo’s 13th of the season.
”Our leaders today did a good job,” Quinn added. ”All of our guys did a better job.”
Shesterkin made 10 saves in the first, 15 in the second and 17 more in the third to win his third straight. He heard chants of ”Igor! Igor!” from the Madison Square Garden crowd during the third period.
”He’s been great. We feel confident with him. He’s really good at swallowing pucks with not many rebounds,” Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei said. ”He keeps playing like that and he’s got a bright future.”
The Rangers have been balancing a three-goalie rotation since Shesterkin was recalled last month from the minors. He has been the best of the trio, which also includes longtime star Henrik Lundqvist – who turns 38 next month – and 23-year-old Alexandar Georgiev. It sounds as if Shesterkin will continue to get the nod as the Rangers push for a playoff berth over the final two months of the season.
”The best guy will play,” Quinn said. ”The guy who plays well will keep playing.”
McKegg scored 2:23 into the first period, rifling the puck past Jonathan Quick from the left faceoff circle. It was McKegg’s third goal of the season and second in three games.
Quick made 37 saves for the Kings, who have dropped five in a row.
”It was a one-goal game with two minutes left, they made a real good play and the puck was in our net,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. ”Their goaltender played well. It’s the same script we’ve seen many times. There are some things we can look at to work on and improve on. That’s who we are and that’s where we are.”
Los Angeles (19-33-5) played its third game in the New York area in four nights. It began a four-game trip with a 4-2 loss at Washington, followed by a 5-3 defeat against the Islanders in Brooklyn on Thursday. The Kings were then blanked 3-0 by the Devils on Saturday.
The Kings have the worst record in the Western Conference and played their league-high 33rd road game. Los Angeles has only eight wins away from Staples Center.
NOTES: The Rangers scratched defenseman Brendan Smith and Georgiev. … The Kings scratched defensemen Ben Hutton and Derek Forbort plus forward Trevor Lewis. … Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei played his 300th career game. … The Kings won the previous meeting 3-1 on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. … The Rangers played their 30th home game. They have 17 road games remaining.
Rangers: Visit Winnipeg Jets to start a three-game road trip on Tuesday.
Kings: Host Calgary Flames on Wednesday at Staples Center.