Perhaps the biggest challenge for Alexandar Georgiev as he adapts to the Rangers’ three-goaltender situation is dealing with those nights on which he does not dress. That will be the case again Sunday, when Igor Shesterkin gets the start against the Kings at the Garden while Henrik Lundqvist backs up.
“It’s tough. You don’t want to be sitting in the lounge watching the guys play,” Georgiev told The Post following Saturday’s practice. “It’s not a fun part of hockey.”
Georgiev made 25 saves in Friday’s 3-2 loss to Buffalo, his first start since Jan. 21. He played the third period in relief of Lundqvist four nights earlier, allowing one goal on six shots against Dallas.
“I come to the rink every day to try to improve,” said Georgiev, who is more likely to be here following the Feb. 24 trade deadline than not. “Every day is a new day for me.”
Shesterkin’s start will be his second in three games and sixth in 12 games since his Jan. 7 debut against the Avalanche. When David Quinn was asked if he is “as confident in [Shesterkin] if not more than anyone on the roster,” the coach said, “Yes.”
Micheal Haley has undergone surgery for a bilateral core muscle injury and will be sidelined indefinitely.
“It was something he’s had for a while and just gradually got worse,” Quinn said of the winger, who had been scratched for the past five games.
If Haley, 1-0 in 22 games with 50 penalty minutes, goes on injured reserve, that would open a roster spot for the Blueshirts, who had been carrying the max 23.
The Rangers can expect the same type of neutral-zone trap from the Kings they saw from the Sabres on Friday. The Blueshirts haven’t done well against more passive and structured teams that don’t want to trade chances with them.
“We get into trouble against teams [that play that way],” Quinn said. “We think we have to try harder to make more skilled plays. That hurts. It really hurts.”
Instead, the Rangers need to get the puck in behind the defensemen and go to work on the forecheck and adopt a ground-game mentality. It’s meat-and-potatoes hockey without the sizzle. It doesn’t seem to come naturally.
“It’s hard to do the same thing over and over again. It can get a little boring,” Quinn said. “We’re not good at boring.”