Keith Kinkaid #30 of the Boston Bruins tends net against...

Keith Kinkaid #30 of the Boston Bruins tends net against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 03, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey.  Credit: Getty Images

Keith Kinkaid was back in Madison Square Garden Thursday when the Rangers hosted the Boston Bruins. He was in a familiar spot, serving as the backup goaltender, ready to enter the game on a moment’s notice, if he should happen to get called upon.

The only thing was, Kinkaid, the Farmingville native, was wearing a Bruins jersey.

Kinkaid, who spent the last two seasons in the Rangers organization, expected to re-sign with the club, especially after last year’s backup goaltender, Alexandar Georgiev, was traded away to Colorado at the NHL draft. Instead, the Rangers brought in 37-year-old Jaroslav Halak to be the backup for Igor Shesterkin. Then they signed former Pittsburgh Penguin Louis Domingue to be the No. 3 goalie.

Kinkaid latched on with the Bruins, signing one-year, two-way deal to be the No. 3 behind Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.

The decision by the Rangers to move on from him seemed to catch Kinkaid by surprise. He thought he’d played well in his role as the Blueshirts’ third goalie.

“They told me a few things and went a different way,’’ Kinkaid said after the Bruins’ morning skate Thursday. “I’d spent two years in the organization. Everything was good. And then (contract) talks went away, and I’m not sure what happened.’’

Kinkaid had a solid preseason and was off to a good start in Providence, Boston’s AHL affiliate, when an injury to Swayman in Tuesday’s overtime win over Pittsburgh prompted the Bruins to call him up.

“It stinks that ‘Sway’ had to get injured like that, and I wish him the best in recovery, and I'm going to do my best to fill in for him,’’ Kinkaid said.

To a degree, Kinkaid’s time with the Rangers helped re-establish his reputation after a difficult season with the Montreal Canadiens in 2019-20. He’d signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal that season, but struggled badly in Montreal and was sent down to the minor leagues. He struggled there, too.

The Rangers signed him to a two-year deal before the COVID-shortened, 56-game season of 2020-21 to be their third goalie, and he went 3-2-1, with a 2.59 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage in nine starts in the first season. Last season he was assigned to AHL Hartford, where he went 20-14-2, with a 2.94 GAA and .904 save percentage in 37 games. He started one game for the Rangers, a 3-2 win in Arizona where he made 29 saves.

If he couldn’t return to New York, Kinkaid is happy with the situation he’s in with the Bruins. Providence, only an hour south of Boston, is “a great city too,’’ he said.

“We're number one in the league in Boston (9-1, entering Thursday), and you know, Providence is having a great year, too,’’ he said. “We're Number 1 in our division, so it's fun. It’s got a lot of good places to eat, and it’s a good town, with a lot of good people around there.’’

Kinkaid could be in Boston for a while. Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said Swayman likely will be out on a “week-to-week’’ basis.

Kinkaid, who still hopes to make it back to the NHL full-time, had started four games for Providence, going 2-1-1, with a 2.70 GAA and a .922 save percentage, before getting called up. He’s under no illusions about this being a long-term gig, but does view his callup as an opportunity to prove he can still play at the NHL level.

“You’ve got to wait for any opportunity, whether it's, they want you to come up and play a game to give them rest, or unfortunately, an injury,’’ he said. “When I was with the Rangers … I played well every time I was in net. So, I'm going to keep doing that.’’

More Rangers


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months