NEW YORK -- When he first saw the Los Angeles Kings' four-game road swing through New York and New Jersey on the calendar, goaltender Ben Scrivens thought he might have a chance to catch up with some old classmates from Cornell University, many of whom live in the New York metropolitan area.
But those plans changed drastically early in the trip for the Alberta native, who played four years at Cornell and was named ECAC goalie of the year in 2010.
In the first game Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres, franchise goaltender Jonathan Quick was lost to a lower-body injury and forced to go back home to further evaluate the ailment. That injury thrust Scrivens into the L.A. crease. He'll be there again Sunday night at Madison Square Garden as the Kings face the New York Rangers.
Although Scrivens lost 3-2 in the shootout in Buffalo, he followed up that loss with two wins in 24 hours; 3-2 against the New York Islanders on Thursday and 2-0 against the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
"It's been kind of a crazy trip with Quickie going down. You've got to be ready," Scrivens said. "It's great to get those wins but we've got a lot of work to do. You can't have a let-off. You have to maintain some consistency in your game. That's the ongoing challenge that I'm facing right now."
In seven appearances since arriving in the offseason trade that sent Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Scrivens has 3-1-1 record with two shutouts, a 1.51 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. With no specific timeline regarding Quick's return to the lineup, the Kings will look to Scrivens to continue his strong play.
"He has played very well. I feel great with him behind me," said defenseman Slava Voynov, who notes that Scrivens has one element to his game not usually seen with Quick. "He loves playing the puck behind the net."
Now the Kings starting goaltender in Quick's absence, Scrivens will make his third start in four nights. It's a grind he's used to, having played three games in three nights while with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
That kind of action didn't give Scrivens much time to catch up with old classmates on this trip, but there are elements from his time at Cornell that occasionally seep into the locker room. A graduate of the school's hotel management program, considered the best of its kind in the world, Scrivens has been known to share his interest on Twitter in celebrity scientist (and Cornell alum) Bill Nye as well as noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. But he hasn't tried too hard to share those interests with his teammates.
"Everyone's got their own individual stuff they like outside the rink. You don't have to share everything with your brothers in here. Obviously we've got a lot of stuff in common, so we stick to that," said Scrivens, who admits to occasionally being teased for his scholarly interests. "I get that all the time. You take that for the compliment that it is."
With Scrivens in net, the Kings don't expect to make any lineup changes Sunday. The Rangers held an optional skate after winning 1-0 against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The skate was attended by goaltender Cam Talbot, defenseman Michael Del Zotto, and forwards Brandon Mashinter and Rick Nash, who is close to returning from his concussion. None of them are expected to play Sunday.
Here are the projected lineups for the Kings and Rangers:
Justin Williams - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Dwight King - Mike Richards - Tyler Toffoli
Trevor Lewis - Jarret Stoll - Jordan Nolan
Tanner Pearson - Linden Vey - Matt Frattin
Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr - Slava Voynov
Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez
Scratched: Colin Fraser, Daniel Carcillo
Injured: Jeff Carter (lower body), Matt Greene (lower body), Kyle Clifford (upper body), Jonathan Quick (lower body)
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Brian Boyle - Derick Brassard - Derek Dorsett
J.T. Miller - Dominic Moore - Benoit Pouliot
Dan Girardi - Ryan McDonagh
Anton Stralman - Marc Staal
John Moore - Justin Falk
Scratched: Brandon Mashinter, Michael Del Zotto
Injured: Rick Nash (concussion), Taylor Pyatt (concussion)