After allowing 5 goals against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, Rangers backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev alluded to his lack of playtime as a major reason for his recent on-ice struggles.
“The only way to be in that game rhythm is to play,” said Georgiev.
The contest saw Georgiev allow a seemingly-easy stop to nonetheless find the back of the net 10 minutes into the first period, which began the onslaught of scores from the Wild on just 26 shots.
Ryan Hartman beats Georgiev with a wrister from the top of the circle, opening the score for the Wild!#MNWild pic.twitter.com/F0QMDcgUsz
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) March 9, 2022
The 26-year-old goaltender joined the Blue Shirts in 2017 after spending time overseas, and spent the first few years of his NHL career backing up Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist.
After the King’s retirement, Georgiev never got a full chance at the starting job, as the team turned to Igor Shesterkin — who has displayed increasingly outstanding talent on the ice, and has earned widespread league MVP buzz for his abilities this season.
That has once more relegated Georgiev to the place of second-string, which has only afforded him spotty opportunities to showcase his game, and to develop into a solid-enough rhythm.
Since joining the team from MSG, he has started 108 games, and recorded a 50-47-11 record, with a .909 save percentage. This season alone, Georgiev has began 19 games, with a 7-9-2 record, and a forgettable .893 save percentage.
The backup goal stopper’s last win came on Jan. 8.
Rangers Head Coach Gerard Gallant acknowledged the lack of playtime for Georgiev as a contributing factor for the goalie’s unimpressive play, but offered words of encouragement in defense of his player.
“It’s tough on him. You feel for him a little bit — and hopefully he’s going to get a win here sooner or later, and get back at it,” said Gallant after the game against the Wild.
“He doesn’t get many games, but that’s the NHL right now. We’re worried about wins, and we can’t worry about every individual player. He’s a man, and he’ll own up, and he’ll get his opportunities — and like I said, I still feel very good about him.”
Georgiev took to the press podium after the five-goal loss, and admitted the lack of victorious performances has bothered him.
“It’s been frustrating. It’s been a bit of a tough steak,” he said.
“We have been doing some drills with Benny [assistant coach Benoit Allaire], and working hard in practice. I don’t know what else we can do. Maybe that’s for us to think about.”
The Rangers now find themselves with 77 points in the NHL standings, which places them 6 behind the Metropolitan Division’s first place Carolina Hurricanes, and tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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The team is solidly in position to make the NHL playoffs, which begin on May 2.
The Blue Shirts now head to St. Louis on Thursday to play the Blues, before traveling to Dallas on Saturday for a contest against the Stars.