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Rangers coach Gerard Gallant starts Alexandar Georgiev, gives Igor Shesterkin a rest after four starts in a row

Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev waits for play to

Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev waits for play to start during the second period of an NHL game against the Senators in Ottawa on Oct. 23, 2021.  Credit: AP/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Rangers coach Gerard Gallant bristled when asked why he chose to start Alexandar Georgiev in goal for Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Senators, instead of his red-hot No. 1 goalie, Igor Shesterkin.

"We’ve got two goalies,’’ Gallant said. "It's like, seriously … the other guy [Shesterkin] played four games in a row, and it was time … Alex is a good goalie. We talked about that.’’

Georgiev last played in the season opener in Washington on Oct. 13, surprising many who assumed Shesterkin would get the start that night against the Capitals. At the time, Gallant explained that his choice of the goalie for that game was tied to the fact the Rangers started the season with a back-to-back set – they hosted the Dallas Stars the next night in their home opener – and he doesn’t like starting goalies in both ends of a back-to-back.

But the Rangers lost in Washington, 5-1, and Shesterkin then started the next four games, including the first three on the road trip.

Georgiev said he tried to stay sharp watching video, and working with director of goaltending Benoit Allaire while he waited for his chance to play again. He allowed a goal by Nick Paul 41 seconds into the game, but made 10 saves in the second period – several of them excellent – to keep the Rangers in the game until they rallied for three goals in the final 5:23 to win it.

"Georgie was great,’’ defenseman Ryan Lindgren said. "In the second period, there were some saves that looked like, you know, were for sure goals, and he came across and made some great saves.’’

"It felt great to get the win,’’ Georgiev said. "The boys did a hell of a job.’’

Blue notes

Gallant kept the same lineup, and the same line combinations, that had won Thursday in Nashville, meaning forward Julien Gauthier and defensemen Libor Hajek and Jarred Tinordi were scratched … Right wing Kaapo Kakko is eligible to come off the injured reserve list Sunday and will be eligible to play Monday against Calgary.

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