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Shesterkin ‘unfit to play,’ Lundqvist gets Game 1 start for Rangers

Edzo takes a look at the Return to Play matchup between the Rangers and Hurricanes and explains why New York could give Carolina a run for its money.

Henrik Lundqvist will get the start for the Rangers against the Hurricanes in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Qualifier series.

Goaltender Igor Shestkin has been deemed “unfit to play,” making head coach David Quinn’s decision a little easier. Alexander Georgiev will serve as the backup Saturday afternoon.

New York was one of a handful of teams facing a goalie decision ahead of the Qualifying Round (Carolina was one of those teams and will start Petr Mrazek). Quinn said before Phase 3 that he would use training camp as a way to decide his starter.


Shesterkin started the Rangers’ lone exhibition game on Wednesday, with Lundqvist coming in for the final 28 minutes. For his case, Hank has enjoyed success against the Hurricanes. He won all three starts against Carolina during the regular season, stopping at least 39 shots in each game and recording a .947 save percentage.

This could be the final run for Lundqvist with the Rangers. His contract doesn’t expire until after the 2020-21 NHL season, but Shesterkin emerged as the No. 1 before the March pause. He’s now appeared in the franchise’s last 128 playoff games, dating back to the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals. The streak is the third-longest in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.

Due to the NHL’s new catch-all “unfit to play” phrase for when players don’t practice or play, it’s unlikely we’ll know what’s up with Shesterkin. He was shown during Game 1 watching from the stands, so it’s safe to say this isn’t related COVID-19. He’s considered day-to-day.

UPDATE: Following New York’s 3-2 Game 1 loss, Quinn said he wasn’t sure if Shesterkin will be ready for Game 2 on Monday.

(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers

Saturday, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, 12 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Livestream)
Monday, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, 12 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*

You can watch all the NHL playoff streams on the NBC Sports app.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes series preview
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule
Predictions for 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Why your team won’t (and will) win the Stanley Cup this season
NHL Power Rankings: Stanley Cup-less veterans to root for


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.