As the Rangers’ three-goalie carousel continues to spin, Alexandar Georgiev just waits his turn and tries to be ready.
For the most part Friday night, he was, starting against a team other than the Islanders for the first time since Jan. 4 and making 25 saves in a 3-2 loss to the Sabres at the Garden.
“It is what it is, not much to say,” Georgiev said politely to another question about him sharing the net with Henrik Lundqvist (who backed up) and Igor Shesterkin (who was a healthy scratch). “Coaches make decisions, management makes decisions. I just have to have to be ready whenever I get the chance, and that’s all I focus on.”
Georgiev got some mop-up duty while playing the third period of Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Stars, and before that, he had started each of the three games against the Islanders in a nine-day stretch, the most recent on Jan. 21, just before the long break that encompassed All-Star weekend and the bye week.
Despite the inaction, Georgiev said he “felt good,” and coach David Quinn called his performance “solid.”
It is expected that in the next few days, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton will have more substantive talks with Chris Kreider’s agent, Matt Keator. There haven’t been any real talks regarding a new contract yet for the impending unrestricted free agent, which has made Kreider the most attractive possibility on the trade market in the lead-up to the Feb. 24 deadline.
The 28-year-old scored his 20th goal of the season Friday, making this his fifth season with 20 or more goals.
With five minutes left in regulation and the Rangers down, 3-0, Quinn put his three best forwards — Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Kreider — together. Panarin made a slick backhand pass to Zibanejad with 2:53 remaining as they cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Blueshirts scored four even-strength goals against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night (adding one empty-netter in a 5-3 win), but had only three even-strength goals in their four games prior to that. When Quinn was asked if he was thinking about putting Panarin and Zibanejad back together for a top-heavy configuration, he didn’t say no.
“Maybe,” he said. “It’s too early to tell. But we’ll see.”
Winger Phillip Di Giuseppe stayed in for the third straight game since being called up from AHL Hartford after the break, starting up on the third line with Brendan Lemieux and Filip Chytil. Brendan Smith and Micheal Haley were the skaters scratched.