Panarin Helps Shesterkin Win NHL Debut, Rangers Beat Avalanche 5-3

NEW YORK — Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists, Igor Shesterkin stopped 29 shots to win his NHL debut, and the New York Rangers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 Tuesday night.

Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist, and Chris Kreider and Brady Skjei also scored for New York. Jesper Fast had three assists and Tony DeAngelo added two.

J.T. Compher scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon had a goal in his 500th game for Colorado, which has lost two straight. Andrei Burakovsky had two assists and Philipp Grubauer finished with 24 saves.

Shesterkin was 15-4-3 with a 1.93 goals-against average and three shutouts in 23 games with Hartford of the AHL in his first season in North America. The 24-year-old Russian, called up on Monday, was a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in the 2014 NHL draft.

Igor Shestyorkin
Igor Shesterkin in the KHL (

With the Rangers ahead by one, Jacob Trouba nearly doubled the lead with 5:15 left in the third but the goal was waved off for offside because the puck was just outside the blue line when Trouba shot it.

Shesterkin gloved a shot by Ian Cole with 2:18 remaining, drawing chants of “Igor! Igor!” from the Madison Square Garden crowd. He stopped all 13 Colorado shots in the third period.

The Avalanche pulled Grubauer for an extra skater with about two minutes to go, but Panarin sealed the win with an empty-netter with 28 seconds left.

With the score tied 2-all after 20 minutes, Skjei gave the Rangers their first lead with their third straight goal on a long slap shot from just inside the blue line at 8:05 of the second. Skjei, who missed a scoring chance earlier in the period, got his sixth of the season.

Brady Skjei New York Rangers
Brady Skjei, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Compher tied it 3-all when he converted a pass across the front of the crease from Burakovsky for his seventh with 8 1/2 minutes left in the middle period.

Strome regained the lead for New York a little more than two minutes later. Fast tapped the rebound of a long shot by Panarin to the right side to Strome, who fired it into the wide-open right side of the net for his 12th with 6:21 remaining in the second.

The Avalanche, who came in averaging an NHL-best 3.63 goals per game, scored twice on their first three shots. Compher got them on the board on their first one as he deflected Samuel Girard’s shot to the front up over Shesterkin’s shoulder at 4:44.

MacKinnon made it 2-0 on Colorado’s third shot less than two minutes later as he stole the puck, skated in and put it through Shesterkin’s legs for his 26th at 6:34.

Nathan MacKinnon Colorado Avalanche Logan Couture San Jose Sharks
Nathan MacKinnon (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Shesterkin settled down after that, giving up just one goal on the next 29 shots.

The Rangers pulled within one on a power play. Strome got the puck off a faceoff and sent a pass to Kreider at the right side of the net and he tipped it past Grubauer for his 13th at 8:57.

Zibanejad tied it with 4:37 left in the opening period. He sent a cross-ice pass to DeAngelo on the right side and he returned it to his teammate streaking to the net, and Zibanejad deflected it past Grubauer for his 17th.

Mika Zibanejad New York Rangers
Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The game got chippy a minute later. Rangers defenceman Ryan Lindgren knocked down Colorado’s Joonas Donskoi with a hard hit near the side boards. Colorado teammate Nazem Kadri took exception and traded punches with Lindgren. Both Kadri and Lindgren were giving majors for fighting, and Kadri also received a minor for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct. A shaken-up Donskoi headed to the dressing room. Neither Donskoi nor Lindgren returned to the game.


With the Rangers carrying three goalies on the roster, Henrik Lundqvist served as Shesterkin’s backup and Alexandar Georgiev was scratched. … Panarin has 10 assists and 12 points in the last six games. For the season, he has 57 points (22 goals, 35 assists) in 42 games. … Strome has five goals and four assists in his last six games. … Zibanejad has 10 goals and 16 points in his last 12 games. … Colorado fell to 14-8-2 away from home, second to Washington (17) for the most road wins. The Avalanche, who lost 1-0 at the New York Islanders on Monday night, dropped to 7-3-1 in their last 11 road games. … MacKinnon has four goals and 12 points over the last eight games. … Compher has four goals in his last six games. … Girard has nine assists in his last five games.


Avalanche: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night to open a five-game homestand heading into the All-Star break.

Rangers: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.


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Vin A. Cherwoo, The Associated Press