Libor Hajek recovered from his voluntary two-week conditioning assignment with the AHL Wolf Pack on Sunday, but the 23-year-old defenseman was in the familiar spot in the garden for the Rangers-Sabers match that night.
Hajek is looking at street clothes as a healthy scratch for the 13th time in 13 games on the NHL roster this season.
“Day by day,” head coach Gerard Gallant said when asked if Hajek could actually come to the NHL game. “They skated this morning. We’ll see where it goes.”
In the 2018 deadline, Hajek played five games for the Wolf Pack, primarily paired with Zach Jones, who was a key part of the Ryan McDonagh / JT Miller trade.
Gallant made a change to the blue line for Sunday’s game, adding Jared Tinardi to the lineup when Nils Lundqvist took the seat. Tinordi, who is playing his fifth match, has been scratched in the previous five straight and 13 games overall.
This marks the fifth healthy scratch for Lundqvist, who has recorded two assists in his first 13 NHL contests and is most likely paired with Patrick Nemeth in the third team.
Alex Georgiev got a net start against Buffalo, despite representing the Rangers’ only match during a five-day match between Thursday’s game in Toronto and Wednesday’s fixture on the island this Wednesday.
Making his fifth start, Jarjeev went 2-1-1 with a 3.77 GAA and .870 save percentage, posting a .888 or lower save percentage in three of his previous four starts.
Igor Shusterkin, meanwhile, is 8-3-2 with a 2.39 GAA and .930 save percentage, registering a .912 or higher save percentage in 10 of his 13 starts.
The Blueshirts entered the game from 0-6 in their previous three games on Power Play. The Rangers earned nine five-four PPGs on the year, with first-unit guard Chris Crider, Mika Zibanejad, Artemie Panarin and Adam Fox all on their own. Ryan Strom is seven-on-seven with Alexis Lafrenier, Strom bumped into the first unit while on the COVID-restricted list, for two.
Sunday’s Blueshirts represented the 50th anniversary of the Garden’s victory over the 12-1 Golden Seals, in which the club scored eight times in the third period. Pierre Jarry scored the first two goals of his NHL career with eight seconds left, while Jean Ratelle scored four goals. In the second, the score was 10-1, when 21-year-old starting netminder Gilles Meloche drove him to the bench in tears. The Blueshirts had a 52-16 edge in shots, 21-3 in the third period. Gene Carr (2-2) and Rod Gilbert (0-4) also had four-point nights.