NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Saturday’s win was Alexandar Georgiev’s first back-to-back start in net this season for the Rangers.
It wasn’t until the second half of last season — Georgiev’s first as a full-time Ranger — that the Bulgarian goaltender received more playing time behind Henrik Lundqvist, when coach David Quinn began to lessen the veteran’s workload.
But after Georgiev’s 32-save performance that helped the Blueshirts hold on for a 2-1 win, Quinn was reminiscent of how his No. 2 goalie has come into his own.
“Well, I think the end of last year played a role in that, too — I thought he played a lot of good hockey in the second half of the season,” Quinn said. “He’s a guy that works very hard — he went over the summer and worked on some of the things we asked him to work on. He’s had a really good start.”
Georgiev said he tries to take the confidence he gets from his good nights in net, but also tries not to dwell on the past. He said he feels “quite sharp” and that he was ready for the past two games, which saw the 23-year-old combine for 61 stops on 63 shots.
“It’s been great to get more games of course,” Georgiev said with a smile. “I love playing and I’m happy for that.”
To secure the win Saturday, the Rangers had to defend two power plays in the final six minutes of the third period.
Technically, the Blueshirts had to kill off three power plays in the final frame, after Ryan Strome was called for cross checking in the final seconds of the second period.
Brendan Smith was called for holding at 5:17 before Libor Hajek was sent to the box for tripping at 2:11 in the third. The penalty kill was 3-for-4 on the night, allowing Nashville’s lone goal in the second after a Tony DeAngelo penalty. But Quinn was pleased with how the unit stepped up to the challenge.
“We changed our forecheck tonight a little bit tonight,” Quinn said of what was making the penalty kill click. “That being said, they did get a power-play goal. But obviously our kills in the third period — we had three of them, right? First minute and then two at the end of the game were huge.”
Through 11 games, the Rangers have allowed eight power-play goals on 43 opportunities from opponents.
“I just think they were decisive,” Quinn said. “We’re aggressive when we need to be. I think we’ve had good sticks, I think we’ve cleared pucks when we needed to and we’ve got great goaltending.”
In his first two games since getting called up from the AHL, Filip Chytil has registered a goal in each game.
Chytil told The Post earlier in the week that it was “a great feeling” to be back in the big leagues and how much he enjoyed playing in Madison Square Garden. Well, that enthusiasm carried over to Nashville.
“This happens in sports, so maybe I was disappointed for a couple of hours [after getting sent down the Hartford],” Chytil said. “But when I got to Hartford I forgot everything and I started again.”
Quinn has been pleased with what he’s seen from the 20-year-old, noting that he’s been playing like a true second-line center.
“Filip has come back and played with a purpose and pace and I love his intentions,” Quinn said Saturday. “He always had the skill set, but there’s a different element to his game that he’s added since he went down to Hartford. Like I said the other day, he’s been playing like a second-line center.”
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