This isn’t about Igor Shesterkin. It’s about Alexandar Georgiev and Rangers coach David Quinn’s desire to ride the hot hand.
Georgiev has helped the Rangers earn at least a point in each of his last four appearances (they are 2-0-2 in those contests) and is coming off a strong performance in Friday night’s 6-2 win over the Bruins at the Garden. So he’ll be back in net in Sunday’s rematch with Boston.
“It’s always a competition. The plan is to play the guy that gives you the best chance to win,” Quinn said over Zoom on Saturday. “Georgiev’s played well. I think he’s got six of his last eight points and he had a good night [Friday] night, so give him a chance [on Sunday].”
Shesterkin has started 11 of the Rangers’ 18 games, and has better overall numbers than Georgiev — a lower goals-against average (2.40 compared to 2.81) and higher save percentage (91.9 to 90.1) — but Quinn likes what he has seen recently from Georgiev.
“He hasn’t played two in a row I don’t think in a while,” the coach said. “I just wanted to give him an opportunity to follow up what he did [Friday] night.”
The status of Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko remains unchanged, according to Quinn.
Kakko, on the team’s COVID-19 protocols list, has missed the last three games, while Panarin has been out for the last two as he takes a leave of absence following an allegation from one of his former KHL coaches, Andrei Nazarov, that in 2011 Panarin got into an altercation with an 18-year-old woman. Panarin has denied the allegations and there has been no evidence or police records to support Nazarov’s claims.
Because there was practice on Saturday, Quinn said it is unlikely Filip Chytil (hand) will play Sunday. The 21-year-old center returned to practice on Thursday after being out since Jan. 24.
Credit for the Rangers’ first goal on Friday has been changed from Julien Gauthier to Phil Di Giuseppe. It marked Di Giuseppe’s first goal of the season. Gauthier thus remains stuck on one goal.