So the Rangers can take a step out of the garden on Sunday night, instead of finding another way to win a season full of messy victories. This time it was Ryan Lindgren – which, of course, was the last second buzzer-beater on the clock to lift the Blueshirts to a chaotic 5-4 triumph over the Sabers.
But even in raising the record to a fancy 11-4-3, the Rangers have a serious problem that needs to be addressed in one form or another before long.
Because the Blueshirts continue to score goals from Chris Crider (yes, another), Capo Cocko (yes, another), Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller and Lindgren, it represents another game by Alex Georgiev. After allowing four goals in 18 shots over two periods, Subar provided netminding until Igor Shusterkin was replaced.
“Coach’s decision,” Gerard Gallant, who is the coach, said when asked why he made the switch to the net.
That call was clear. Georgiev has been pretty much out of just the start of this season, but has been struggling for the puck and moment just last year. The reasons behind Gallant’s decision to place 40th in the middle of the expansion, which represents the club’s only game in five days, are not very clear.
Could it be an attempt to present Russian to Sabres with all kinds of goaltending issues? If so, let’s file it under questionable ideas that are very wrong.
And something is wrong with Georgiev. Off with his technique. Going out with his confidence. Through five starts, Georgiev’s .858 save percentage is the last in the NHL among 52 goaltenders in at least 250 minutes. Rangers don’t know when the 25-year-old will save. This is an impossible way to go.
This is something new for Rangers who haven’t had a goaltending issue since the 2005-06 Hard Cap and Sweden’s King were introduced, except for a few positions in the last season or two of Henrik Lundqvist. In fact, the Blueshirts do not have the lowest percentage save goaltender post since Steve Valikvette’s .852 in six games in 2009-10.
No. No. 31 wearing a 31. There is no problem with 1. Chesterkin, at the top of his game, stopped all four shots he faced as the Rangers seized control from the Sabers, dominating the final 20 minutes. It took 19:59:03 to score a tie-breaking goal.
But the Rangers want to limit Chesterkin to somewhere in the 60-64 start range. They can’t have a goalie who allows 1.5 goals out of every 10 shots to get the rest of the assignments. They just can’t.
Unhappy with his status as backup for Chesterkin, Jarjeev wanted for a while to formally request General Manager Chris Drury to trade him. Blueshirts made Georgiev available in the summer, but never got much nicer. Now, they may not get it.
The hierarchy – which in this case includes goaltending coach Benoit Allire – is unclear as to whether 24-year-old Adam Huska believes the NHL is ready to step up. Huska, then selected as the 184th pick of the 2015 draft, played in the Yukon, has shining numbers for the Wolf Pack, posting a .938 save percentage and a 1.81 GAA.
But this is a reflection of the small sample size of the goaltender who has only played five games. Keith Kincaid posted a .918 save percentage and a 2.55 GAA while going 8-1-1, but his work last season for the Blueshirts doesn’t inspire confidence.
Georgiev, a restricted free agent pending arbitration claims, carries a $ 2.425 million cap hit on the backup. If the Rangers choose to do that, he can clear the waiver – possible. But Georgia’s claim leaves the club with Neophyte behind Chesterkin. It is not ideal.
Then again, Cam Talbot was a neophyte in early 2013-14 when he was promoted to the position of veteran backup Martin Byron behind Lundqvist. It worked. Once again, though, this would definitely pose a significant risk in favor of Rangers leaving Jarjeev. The problem is, giving him a start is the biggest risk.