Alexandar Georgiev doesn’t want to make excuses for himself, but it has been difficult for the Rangers’ backup goaltender to get into a groove when he has been on the bench for a majority of the season so far.
“Yeah, it’s different,” Georgiev said of starting in just three of the first 13 games this season. “Less playing time is not much fun. As far as for me, I just need to find my game and get back on track. The team has been playing really good. Luckily, we got some points with me not on top of my game. I’m just trying to find that and get back to the way I can play.”
The Rangers are set to play back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday, so Georgiev likely will start in one of the two. Head coach Gerard Gallant has said he tries not to play the same goaltender in games with quick turnarounds.
In the Rangers’ past two sets of back-to-back matchups, Georgiev has been given the starting nod in the first, with Igor Shesterkin taking the second.
Georgiev has given up 13 goals in three starts, leaving him with a jarring 4.26 goals-against average and a .862 save percentage.
“I have to work hard in practice and do the best I can,” Georgiev said. “That’s what I’m focused on.”
Filip Chytil will likely be unavailable Saturday at Columbus, which will count as the second game the 22-year-old center has missed with an undisclosed upper-body injury he sustained in Calgary earlier this month.
Chytil, however, skated for a half hour before the Rangers practice on Friday.
“I don’t think he is [coming to Columbus],” Gallant said.
Without Chytil, the Rangers’ practice lines were the same as the ones Gallant deployed against the Panthers on Monday.
“We’ve made a lot more changes already this year than I want,” Gallant said. “Hopefully we can stay healthy and hopefully we can get a little traction going here. I like to have four lines rolling and keep the lines the same, but we’ve had some different scenarios. The lines have been changed more than I like.”
Gallant also said there have been ongoing discussions about calling a player up from AHL Hartford.
“We’ll see where we’re at, but we were happy with the lineup last game,” he said.
The Rangers will play in their 10th road game of the season Saturday, which is the second most in the NHL behind the Islanders’ 11. Their five road wins are tied with six other teams for the most in the league.
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