Rangers rookie goalie stepping up in class

Rangers rookie goalie stepping up in class

Alexandar Georgiev will get his second consecutive start in nets when the Blueshirts meet the Penguins at the Garden on Wednesday.

“He’s a battler, I like his positioning and rebound control, he’s won his last two games,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “But at the end of the day, for us right now, it’s about ‘Do we have a young potential backup for [Henrik Lundqvist]?’ We’ll see what he can do against a real good team.”

Georgiev, the 22-year-old who signed last summer as a free agent, is 2-2 in five games (and four starts) with a .930 save percentage and 2.73 goals against average. He has been unfazed by his rapid ascension to the NHL, hastened by Ondrej Pavelec’s Feb. 9 knee injury, a year after playing for TPS Turku in the Finnish League.

“He’s a calm kid, technically very good,” Lundqvist said. “These kids coming up now, they learn technique from age 8 up. That’s different from me, I was learning technique when I was 19 and 20.”

Georgiev is the first Bulgarian-born player to make it to the NHL. He was a year old when his family moved to Moscow.

“There are no good hockey teams in Bulgaria,” the goaltender, who backstopped Russia to the silver medal at the 2016 World Junior tournament, told The Post.

The Blueshirts have 12 games remaining including this one against the two-time defending Cup champs whose chances at a three-peat were enhanced with the trade deadline acquisition of Derick Brassard, aka Big Game Brass. Georgiev will get his share of the action the rest of the way.

“We need to find out about this young goaltender, who seems to have some good upside,” Vigneault said. “He seems to be mentally ready for it, so let’s put him in there and see what he can do.”

Georgiev is the 17th understudy of Lundqvist’s tenure and the 14th to get into a game. Al Montoya, Jason Missiaen and David LeNeveu also dressed as backups since 2005-06 but did not play for the Rangers.

Lundqvist was one of six players — with Georgiev, Cody McLeod, Peter Holland, David Desharnais and Paul Carey — on the ice for what was publicly designated as an “optional” practice.

“They might have said ‘optional’ but there was a list,” Lundqvist said.


Following the deadline, the Blueshirts held the pre-lottery seventh-overall slot in the draft. In going 4-2-1 since, the club has slipped to ninth and is well within range of falling to 11th. At seventh, the chance for moving into the top three and winning the first-overall pick are 20.9 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, per tankathon.com. At ninth, the numbers are 17.1/5.4. At 11th, they are 10.7/3.3.

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