Alexandar Georgiev insists he does nothing different when facing the Islanders. It just turns out that the Rangers’ young goalie almost always beats them.
Georgiev made 38 saves while backstopping his team to a 3-2 win over the Islanders on Thursday night at the Coliseum, following up the 6-2 win with him in nets against the Isles on Monday night at the Garden. In five career starts against the Islanders over the past two seasons, Georgiev is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage, stopping 128 of 134 shots.
“I like playing against every single team in this league,” Georgiev said. “It’s a little more special to the fans, but I try to approach it the same way as any team.”
Georgiev is now part of the Blueshirts’ untenable three-goalie situation, backed up in this one by Henrik Lundqvist while Igor Shesterkin was a healthy scratch. Either Lundqvist or Shesterkin will play on Sunday night against the Blue Jackets at the Garden — likely Shesterkin, who hasn’t played since Jan. 9, when he got a second straight win to start his NHL career. Then it’s the Islanders again Tuesday night at the Garden, and coach David Quinn surely will be tempted to see if Georgiev can go five-for-six in the Battle of New York.
“If you’re going to kill penalties, your goalie better be great,” said Quinn, whose team killed off all five penalties they took for 10:00 of man-down time. “He was great.”
Quinn had a rotating cast of lines in the third period, and 18-year-old rookie Kaapo Kakko didn’t play for a stretch of just under five minutes. Filip Chytil took a few shifts with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, and Greg McKegg took a couple shifts with Chytil and Brett Howden.
Micheal Haley didn’t have much of a chance to get into another fight, playing only one shift in the second before sitting the rest of the game. Linemate Brendan Smith got two shifts in the second and sat for the whole third.
Quinn had said there were “a couple guys that are questionable” to play, and that included winger Pavel Buchnevich, who had missed practice on Wednesday with the flu. Buchnevich, however, was able to play and threw a team-high five hits over 14:24 of ice time.
Winger Phillip Di Giuseppe was a healthy scratch for the second straight game, still yet to make his Rangers debut after he was called up from AHL Hartford on Sunday.
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