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Shesterkin skates, day to day for Rangers

Goalie has missed five games because of rib fracture sustained in car accident

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Igor Shesterkin took part in the morning skate for the New York Rangers prior to their game against the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, NBCSWA, NHL.TV) and is day to day.

It marked the first time the goalie skated with the Rangers since sustaining a nondisplaced rib fracture in a car accident Feb. 23. He has missed five games.

"Definitely a step in the right direction," coach David Quinn said. "I think we're back to the point where it's day to day. I don't know how he felt. It really is now day to day, so we'll see."

Shesterkin was to be reevaluated two weeks after the accident; Quinn had suggested Monday that the timeline for his return could be accelerated.

The rookie is 9-1-0 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in 10 starts. He won his NHL debut by making 29 saves in a 5-3 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 7 and is 7-0-0 with a 2.03 GAA and .945 save percentage in his past seven starts.

The Rangers (35-27-4), four points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, are 2-3-0 without Shesterkin, including three straight losses. Alexandar Georgiev has started all but one of those games. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves in a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

Quinn was asked if he has the most confidence in Shesterkin compared to the other goalies.

"When you have all these guys together, three goalies together, you just let the play dictate who is the goalie that you're going to use," he said. "I thought [Shesterkin] kind of separated himself a little bit after about a four-week stretch where we had these guys all here. His numbers prove it. The one thing about goaltending, there isn't a lot of subjectivity to it. So like I continue to say, I have faith in all these guys, but who's playing the best."

Forward Pavel Buchnevich was also in the accident and returned after missing two games.

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