Rangers face decision as Igor Shesterkin’s return draws closer



Igor Shesterkin, who suffered a groin injury late in the Rangers’ victory Thursday at Prudential Center and who is listed as “day-to-day,” will accompany the Blueshirts to Pittsburgh for the two-game set that commences on Sunday. The goaltender will not play in at least the first contest, however.

To that end, coach David Quinn will either come back with Alexandar Georgiev, who was lukewarm in Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Devils in Newark, or turn to 31-year-old Keith Kinkaid, whose last NHL start was on Oct. 30, 2019, while a member of the Canadiens.

Kinkaid, promoted from the taxi squad, has a career record of 65-56-20 with a .905 save percentage and 2.95 goals-against average in six NHL seasons, the first five of which were spent with the Devils.

“We’re going back and forth on that right now,” David Quinn said. “That’s something we’ll decide [Sunday] morning.”

Igor Shesterkin

Georgiev, who is 3-0 in his last four starts, surrendered a pair of questionable goals to the Devils on Saturday. He was on a seemingly unscreened 60-foot right point dart from P.K. Subban in the first period and then kind of whiffed on a right dot wrister from Nathan Bastian late in the third period.

The 25-year-old netminder has gone back-to-back six times through the course of his career (once last season), going 2-4 on the back ends with a .913 save percentage and a 4.02 GAA bloated by having allowed seven goals once and five goals another time.

Quinn said Jacob Trouba, who has missed eight games since breaking a thumb on Feb. 16, “is very, very close to playing and I’ll be stunned if we don’t see him on the trip.”

Mika Zibanejad, who got 19:00 of ice time, caught his skate in a rut during the final minute (Ulf Nilsson!) and left the ice gingerly, which is the same way he ultimately made his way to the room when the match had ended.

But Quinn said that “there is no issue with Mika.”

“He caught a little rut there and was a little stunned,” said the coach. “But he feels pretty good.”

Julien Gauthier, who recorded a pair of assists while involved throughout, went without a shift through a stretch of nearly 10:00 early in the second period. That did not, however, represent a commentary on his play.

“He actually had to go in and get X-rays, so that’s why he didn’t play. It had nothing to do with his play — he was playing well,” Quinn said. “He’s fine health-wise. It was just a precaution.”

The Blueshirts, who snuffed out the only power play the Devils were awarded, have killed 47 of the last 50 they have faced over the last 15 contests dating back to Jan. 30. Nearly as impressive is the fact that the Rangers have only been shorthanded a sum of seven times over the last four games.

Phillip Di Giuseppe was the healthy scratch up front while Anthony Bitetto, who had been nursing an unidentified lower body problem but is believed healthy, sat on the back end.


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