The Rangers forced overtime against the Stars on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden behind a tenacious second-period performance, but fell short when Miro Heiskanen buried the game-winner just over a minute and a half into the extra period.
“I need to stop that shot,” goalie Igor Shesterkin said when asked about what he saw on the OT goal.
In his first start of the season, Shesterkin stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced as the Rangers dropped to 0-1-1 with a 3-2 loss to Dallas.
Shesterkin said he found out two days before the Rangers’ season-opening loss to the Capitals in Washington that he would get the starting nod in the tail end of the back-to-back games.
Head coach Gerard Gallant said prior to the start of the season he doesn’t expect to deploy his goaltenders in back-to-back matchups.
Asked about his personal feeling about playing games on consecutive days, Shesterkin said he’s willing.
“It’s the coach’s decision,” the 25-year-old said. “If he wants me to play two games in a row, I’ll play two in a row. I’m here to help the team however I can.”
Nils Lundkvist made his NHL debut, logging 14:19 of ice time on the third defensive pairing with his fellow countryman, Patrik Nemeth.
“We just told the kid to go out there and have fun, play your game,” Gallant said. “Don’t worry about this being your first game, I mean, it’s an exciting time for him. But go play your game. I think his skill level and his talent, he’s just going to get better and better and better.”
New MSG Network studio analyst Hernik Lundqvist indicated he did receive interest from ESPN and TNT to work nationally, but he felt the best fit for him was home with the Rangers and the Garden.
“There have been some talks, for sure,” Lundqvist said on a conference call Thursday. “Right now, what is best, this works well for me, for MSG. I feel like this is the best start for me, then we’ll just see what happens.”
Lundqvist is making his post-retirement home in New York, so he felt working around 20 games as a studio analyst for the MSG Networks was the best fit for him.
Late Rangers great Rod Gilbert was honored Thursday.
After debuting the No. 7 patch in their season opener, the Rangers held a pregame ceremony to highlight Gilbert’s contributions to the organization. Also, T-shirts with Gilbert’s No. 7 were placed on every seat at Madison Square Garden.
“Everybody knows about Rod Gilbert,” Gallant said. “He was a great ambassador to this franchise. It’s going to be a great night for us.”
Gilbert, the Rangers’ all-time leader in goals (406) and points (1,021) and the first NHL player to have his jersey retired at MSG, died at the age of 80 in August. “Mr. Ranger” spent his entire 18-year career with the franchise from 1960-78.