Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev protects the net against the Predators...

Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev protects the net against the Predators in the second period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

RALEIGH, N.C. — In the front end of their eighth back-to-back set this season, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant chose to start Alexandar Georgiev in goal Friday against Carolina, rather than Igor Shesterkin, who had played three straight games.

Georgiev, who carried a 7-5-2 record into the game, with a 2.71 goals-against average and .908 save percentage, last played in the 3-1 loss to the L.A. Kings on Jan. 10. He made 29 saves and allowed all six goals in the Rangers’ 6-3 loss.

Shesterkin (18-4-2, 2.03, .938) now is in line to start Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden. Gallant has not started the same goaltender in both games of a back-to-back set.

This will be the sixth back-to-back in which Gallant has had Georgiev and Shesterkin both available. In the first two, he started Georgiev in the first game and Shesterkin in the second, and in the next three he started Shesterkin in the first game and Georgiev in the second. The other two back-to-backs came when Shesterkin was on injured reserve. Georgiev started the first game in both of those and Adam Huska and Keith Kinkaid each started the second game once.

Hunt added

Gallant made one change to the lineup he dressed Wednesday against Toronto when he inserted forward Dryden Hunt on Friday in place of Julien Gauthier.

Hunt, a healthy scratch Wednesday after missing four games while on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, played right wing on the line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. That meant Filip Chytil, who played the previous two games on that line, dropped down to the third line, with Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow.

"Fil's played fine,’’ Gallant said. "He's done OK … We've done a lot of line switches this year. Nothing's perfect. Some games are real good, some games not as good.’’

Hunt has played more games on right wing with Panarin and Strome (14) than anyone this season. He played 14:02 Friday and had no shots on goal.

Blue lines

Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller turned 22 on Friday . . . Ds Libor Hajek and Jarred Tinordi were the other scratches for the Rangers … A total of five former Rangers played for Carolina: Tony DeAngelo, Jesper Fast, Brady Skjei, Brendan Smith and Derek Stepan.

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