When the Rangers chose their 23-man roster and included Alexandar Georgiev as the backup goaltender behind Henrik Lundqvist, both general manager Jeff Gorton and coach David Quinn said Georgiev would need to play games, and if he wasn’t getting them at the NHL level, he would play a few for the Wolf Pack. So, with the schedule relatively light over the upcoming weeks and the opportunities to find ice time for Georgiev looking scarce, the Rangers assigned the 22-year-old to AHL Hartford Thursday and recalled Marek Mazanec.
Georgiev had appeared in only one of the Rangers’ first seven games, allowing seven goals in an 8-5 loss at Carolina on Oct. 7. Lundqvist has played all four games since, including both ends of a back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday. Quinn explained the decision to play Lundqvist on consecutive nights by saying that with three days off afterward – they do not play again until Sunday, when they host the Calgary Flames – it made sense for Lundqvist to play in both games. Once he did that, it became unclear when Georgiev might play next.
After Sunday’s game, the Rangers play next on Tuesday, at home against Florida. They leave the next day on a trip to Chicago and California, where they play four games over eight days, with no back-to-backs. The next set of back-to-back games – and the next logical opportunity for Georgiev to play – is not until Nov. 9 and 10.
Mazanec, who battled with Georgiev and Dustin Tokarski in camp for the No. 2 goalie job, was 2-2-0 with a 3.53 goals against average and .859 save percentage in four starts in Hartford. Last season he went 11-6-1 with a .905 save percentage.
Chytil's stay on second line doesn't last long
Quinn said last week he needed to get more ice time for 19-year-old rookie Filip Chytil, so he moved him up from the fourth line to left wing on the second line, with Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello. But late in the second period of Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals in Washington, Quinn moved Chytil back to the fourth line. Chytil played a total of 12:34, ninth-most among the 12 forwards dressed.
“I think it’s going to be the ups and downs of most 19-year-olds in this league,’’ Quinn said after the game. “Some nights he’s going to have energy, some nights he’s not. I thought he looked a little tired.’’
Quinn said with the Rangers playing a second consecutive night Wednesday he had intended to roll four forward lines in the third period, so he believed Chytil would get a fair amount of ice time. But it did not work out, so the puzzle of how to get Chytil sufficient ice time continues. Quinn was asked if he will continue to move Chytil back and forth between center and wing, and he said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t think it’s positional, what he’s fighting through right now,’’ Quinn said. “I think it’s more mental for him . . . I just think he’s fighting it a little bit. I think he’s dying for that goal, and all of a sudden, the floodgates might open. I think it’s more mental than anything for him.’’