Igor Shesterkin will start for the New York Rangers against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, SNE, SNO, NHL.TV).
The goalie was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Monday and will make his NHL debut. Henrik Lundqvist will be the backup, and Alexandar Georgiev will be scratched.
"I just think it's a natural progression when you have a guy playing as well as he was in the American Hockey League, you call him up and you give him an opportunity," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "Because of his position, it's probably taken longer than it should have. If you had a defenseman or a forward that was doing the things that he was doing in the [AHL], he would have been up sooner.
"We're just taking it right now day by day. That's really all we've really thought about, the present right now. Right now, we've got three goalies. [Shesterkin] played his way into this opportunity. It has nothing to do with [Lundqvist or Georgiev]. Those guys have really given us a chance most nights. It's really more about Igor."
Selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (No. 118) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Shesterkin agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract May 3 and is 15-4-3 with a 1.93 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and three shutouts in 23 AHL games. He leads the AHL in GAA, is second in save percentage, and was chosen to play for the Atlantic Division in the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic.
The Rangers (19-18-4) have lost three straight games and are allowing 3.32 goals per game, fifth-most in the NHL. Lundqvist is 9-9-3 with a 3.10 GAA and .910 save percentage in 24 games (22 starts). Georgiev is 10-9-1 with a 3.17 GAA and .909 save percentage in 20 games (19 starts).
"He's been doing really well in Hartford and preparing for his first opportunity up here," Lundqvist said of Shesterkin. "The day-to-day approach for me doesn't change. I can only control what I can control. The big change was really I'm going to say two years ago, when we decided as an organization to restart everything. For me, I have to just focus on my game and prepare and be ready for when I can play. But now, it's an opportunity for Igor to play. [Georgiev] has been playing well when he's been in net. I can't look too far ahead. I have to take it day by day."