Igor Shesterkin will be out for a week for the New York Rangers after the goalie was placed in the injured reserve on Saturday.
“Each team is losing players and star players but we think it will take a week and he will be back ready to play,” said Rangers coach Gerard Gallant. ” [Alexandar Georgiev] came in last night and did a great job and now he has an opportunity. I think it works well. “
Shesterkin, who made 19 saves before being replaced by Georgiev (nine saves) with 14:52 remaining, is 13-3-2 with a 2.05 GAA and .937 save percentage. in 18 games this season (17 starts), including 8-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and .945 save percentage (14 goals against 256 shots) in nine games since November 8.
Among goaltenders with at least 10 NHL games this season, Shesterkin is third in save percentage behind Jack Campbell the Toronto Maple Leafs (0.943) and Jacob Markström of the Calgary Flames (0.939). Shesterkin is tied for fourth in the GAA.
« [Shesterkin has] played a lot of good games for us, ”said Gallant. “We expect it to last for seven days and then it will be back. Rest will not hurt him. “Georgie” played very well. We can’t wait for him to return to the net tonight. It is not a problem. We are going to play. “
Georgiev will start against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Gallant has not said if he will start the next two games, against the Blackhawks on Tuesday and at home against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Shesterkin is eligible to return to the Buffalo Sabers on Friday.
“For me, I trust the kid,” Gallant said. “Shesterkin played incredible hockey for the first 20 games and Georgie didn’t have a lot of chances. But, again, I am confident. Last night he went into the net and did a great job, and I expect the same tonight, but it’s obvious that confidence does a lot of good for goalkeepers.
“It’s his job to be sharp and ready to go. He worked hard in training and now he has the opportunity, and like everyone else, you hope he takes advantage of it. It’s obviously a bigger role, but go play. Have fun, go play and win hockey games. This is what we try to do as a team.
Goalkeeper Adam Huska was recalled from Hartford from the American Hockey League and will support Georgiev. Huska is 2-3-1 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in six AHL games this season. The 24-year-old is yet to make his NHL debut.
“I think we’ve grown a lot over the last couple of years and we’re able to handle these things no matter who falls,” said the Rangers forward. Ryan Strome said after Friday’s victory. “We’ve had a ton of games where we’ve played with 11 forwards because the guys get injured or whatever. I think the guys reacted well on the bench, just tightened up and made sure we helped him. “
Georgiev, who is 2-1-1 in seven games with a 3.89 GAA and .867 save percentage, had not played since allowing four goals on 18 shots in two periods against the Sabers on November 21. Shesterkin replaced him for the third period and the Rangers won 5-4.
“He’s a good goalie and he was waiting for an opportunity,” Strome said of Georgiev. “He went over there and finished it and he’ll probably be there tomorrow.” That’s what the good teams do, the next man in place. It was a good example of that tonight. “
NHL Senior Writer Dan Rosen contributed to this report