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LI's Keith Kinkaid could start in net for Rangers on Tuesday night

Keith Kinkaid of the New York Rangers skates

Keith Kinkaid of the New York Rangers skates off the ice after the game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on March 06, 2021 in Newark. Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

David Quinn knows all about goalie Keith Kinkaid, the Farmingville native who relieved starter Alexandar Georgiev in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

"I know him way back to his Union [College] days and coached him in the World Championships [in 2016], so I’m pretty familiar with him,’’ Quinn said after Kinkaid stopped 16 of 18 shots in 42:46 and kept the Rangers in the game for a while against the Penguins. "I’ve always thought him to be a good goalie.’’

With Igor Shesterkin out with a groin injury, Quinn had a decision to make regarding who should start Sunday’s game.

Georgiev had played in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Devils in Newark. Quinn wrestled with the question of whether to come back with him on the second night of the Rangers’ first back-to-back of the season or turn to former Devils goalie Kinkaid, who signed a two-year contract with the Rangers in October.

Ultimately, he started Georgiev in an effort to give him "an opportunity to go back-to-back and get in a little bit of rhythm.’’ But when the Penguins scored three goals in a 61-second span late in the first period, Quinn lifted Georgiev and inserted Kinkaid at 17:14 of the period for his Rangers debut.

Kinkaid, who had been on the taxi squad all season — except for when he went down to the AHL to play two games for the Rangers’ Hartford farm team — didn’t face his first shot until 4:10 of the second period. That was a breakaway attempt by Jake Guentzel, which he turned aside with his left pad.

He stopped the first 14 shots he saw before Evgeny Malkin beat him on an odd-man rush off a pretty feed from Kasperi Kapanen at 13:57 of the third.

Zach Austin-Reese jammed in a rebound at 16:37 to make it 5-1.

Now Quinn has another decision to make. The Rangers will finish their two-game set against the Penguins on Tuesday, and if Shesterkin isn’t ready to return, Quinn will have to choose whether to have Kinkaid make his first Rangers start or come back with Georgiev, who allowed three goals on six shots Sunday.

Quinn wasn’t willing to say Sunday night which goalie he was leaning toward starting, and the Rangers were off on Monday. But the coach made it clear that he has confidence in the 31-year-old Kinkaid, so he could make his first start since November 2019, when he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens.  

Kravtsov nearing debut

Traktor Chelyabinsk trails two games to one in its best-of-seven KHL first-round playoff series against Salavat Yulaev after Sunday’s 4-0 loss. Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov, who had two goals and an assist in the first two games of the series, had two shots on goal. He is set to join the Rangers after the conclusion of the playoffs.

New York Sports