COLUMBUS, Ohio — At Thursday’s morning skate, Rangers coach David Quinn was asked if Igor Shesterkin had become the No. 1 goaltender. With Shesterkin having made 42 saves in Tuesday’s win over Winnipeg, Quinn said that, yes, based on his play, Shesterkin is the No. 1 goaltender right now.
But Shesterkin sat out the last two games with an ankle injury and Alexandar Georgiev backstopped the Rangers to wins on back-to-back nights. So Quinn was asked after Friday night’s 3-1 win over Columbus if his thinking had changed regarding his goaltenders.
“Well, we’re 10-5 with three [goaltenders],’’ Quinn quipped. “I’m thinking about bringing up a fourth.’’
Quinn amended his statement about the No. 1 goaltender. The position is a little more fluid, apparently.
“I know everybody’s made a big deal of the comment I made and I said right now [Shesterkin] was our No. 1,’’ Quinn said. “I really feel like we got three No. 1 goalies and any time, one of them’s going to emerge and go on a run. And you know I’ve been through this before as a coach, where you’ve got good goalies and you tell the guys, ‘All right, guys, whoever’s got the hot streak can be the No. 1.’ And that’s kind of the situation we’re in.’’
Keane called up
With Tony DeAngelo unable to play and the status of Marc Staal in question, the Rangers called up defenseman Joey Keane from AHL Hartford, and the 20-year-old was available to play if needed.
Brendan Smith, who stepped in Thursday when Staal was unable to play in the 4-3 shootout win over Minnesota because of the flu, stayed in the lineup, replacing DeAngelo. Keane was on hand to step in for Staal in the event he had to miss a second straight game. Staal was able to play, so Keane was scratched and did not make his NHL debut.
“We liked him an awful lot in training camp,’’ Quinn said. “He skates real well, he competes, he’s got good puck skills, and the thing I think he’s really done a good job of down there, from all the times I’ve talked with Kris [Knoblauch, the Hartford coach], is he’s really honed his game. You know there’s a simplicity to his game that maybe there wasn’t early on in his pro career because you know when you get that much offensive ability . . . You try to do that at this level, there is an adjustment you have to make.’’
DeAngelo hurt his shoulder on a body check late in the third period of Thursday’s game. DeAngelo, who had an assist in the game and is having a career year with 13 goals and 30 assists in 56 games, went to the bench hunched over and favoring his right shoulder after the hit and was not on the ice when the Rangers pulled Georgiev for an extra skater. Mika Zibanejad tied the score with 1:06 remaining and DeAngelo was able to play during the five-minute, three-on-three overtime.
The 6-foot, 187-pound Keane played in the AHL All-Star Challenge last month. Like DeAngelo, he is a righthanded-shooting defenseman who runs the point on the power play. He has eight goals and 20 assists in 48 games for Hartford and ranks sixth in goals among AHL defensemen. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last six games.