Not a lot has changed with the Rangers goaltending situation, which would have been a radical statement in most of the previous 15 years considering Henrik Lundqvist has sat out for three straight while watching understudy Alexandar Georgiev.
However, this is all part of the plan. The 37-year-old Lundqvist isn’t going to play quite as much as in years past, the hope being he stays fresher throughout the whole season. The streak stops here, though, as coach David Quinn had already pinned Wednesday night’s prime-time Garden match against the Red Wings as the return for Lundqvist.
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“This is all part of the big picture, managing the amount of games Hank is going to play,” Quinn said before his team’s desultory 6-2 loss to the Senators at the Garden on Monday night, with the club getting Tuesday off. “I know it may be a big deal [Georgiev] played three in a row, but when the dust settles and 82 games finish, Hank is going to play a lot of hockey for us.”
Georgiev, 23, had been terrific in the two games preceding Monday night, stopping 61 of 63 shots while the Rangers beat the Lightning at home and the Predators in Nashville. But Quinn called Monday’s performance “not his best night,” having allowed six goals on 30 shots while the team in front of him gave up a plethora of good chances.
Rangers hunting for consistency after harsh reality check
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Lundqvist most recently played when he was pulled in the brutal 7-4 loss to the Bruins on Oct. 27, having given up four goals on 31 shots in the first two periods before ceding the net to Georgiev. In six games this season, Lundqvist has a 3.58 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
The Rangers got into two fights on Monday, one involving Tony DeAngelo and the other Brendan Lemieux, and now as a team have six through 11 games, on pace for 44 this season. They had 25 fights all of last season, the first under Quinn, with 18 and 16 in the two years prior under Alain Vigneault.
Quinn, who emphasizes being physical, said he wished Lemieux’s first-period fight with Mark Borowiecki — after Jean-Gabriel Pageau wouldn’t engage — helped his team rather than helped the Senators.
“Fighting can do that,” Quinn said. “I wish it would have inspired us a little more, but it didn’t.”
Kaapo Kakko had a goal and an assist Monday night, the first two-point night of his career. He became the third 18-year-old in Rangers history to have a multi-point night, joining Joe Bell (1942-43) and Manny Malhotra (1998-99).