There is no doubt that when it comes to the New York Rangers, their defense is absolutely horrifying to watch.
They give up a ton of scoring chances every night, they turnover the puck more than they should, and they make life extremely difficult for their goaltenders on a nightly basis. This is what you get when you have a rebuilding club.
A perfect example of this was in the Rangers’ 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, February 10 at Madison Square Garden. Sure, the Blueshirts won by three goals, but believe me when I tell you that the game could have been a lot different if not for the outstanding play from their goaltender.
The man who stood on his head for the team that night was Alexandra Georgiev. Georgiev, who turned 23-years-old in the night of the game was absolutely brilliant and showed the team’s brass that he should be part of the team’s goaltending plans going into the future when it comes to their goaltending.
In his eighth win of the season, Georgiev stopped 55 of 56 shots and played the way a goaltender should play when facing a high volume of shots. For starters, despite facing a ton of shots, he was very composed.
Georgiev kept his movements simple, never found himself out of position, put rebounds to the corners, and was great in getting a whistle when his team needed one. This is not easy to do when facing this kind of shot volume, but it goes to show you that despite this being his first full year in the league, that he could play like a veteran.
Secondly, Georgiev was great in swallowing up pucks. The Leafs took a lot of shots at his midsection and up high and the Bulgarian masked man was able to control the shots with his blocker, glove, and pads.
He was also great at stopping shots in traffic. The Leafs have a lot of guys who can tip pucks in and crash the net for rebounds so Georgiev found a way to battle for pucks and find pucks through screens.
Lastly, and maybe, more importantly, the young netminder showed that he deserves a chance to be a part of this team’s future between the pipes. Yes, Lundqvist is not going anywhere for the 2019-20 or 2020-21 seasons and the team has highly touted prospect Igor Shesterkin coming over to North America this season, which could put Georgiev’s future with the team in doubt.
Without that said, last night’s performance showed the organization that he can be brilliant in goal and that if given the right guidance and a chance to be with this franchise moving forward, he will only get better. Yes, his overall career stats are not exactly special (12-13-1 with a 3.12 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage, one shutout), but let’s remember that he’s still very young and that the team he is playing behind is not exactly defensively sound.
Going into the offseason, the team will need to think about what they are going to do with Georgiev. If last night shows anything, it will certainly be a tough one as Georgiev proved that he might be worth keeping as the team moves into their new era.
Photo: New York Daily News