The Henrik Lundqvist playing time mystery grows for Rangers

The Henrik Lundqvist playing time mystery grows for Rangers

This question isn’t going away for the rest of the season: When are the Rangers going to start Henrik Lundqvist?

Following the broken rib suffered by Igor Shesterkin in a car accident Sunday night, and with the rookie not set to be reevaluated for “a couple of weeks,” coach David Quinn turned to Alexandar Georgiev to start three games in four nights for the Blueshirts. He won two of them, but the streak of victories ended with the 5-2 loss at Philadelphia on Friday night.

Asked after the game if he knew who his goalie would be for the rematch against Kevin Hayes and the surging Flyers on Sunday afternoon at the Garden, Quinn said, “No, I haven’t thought about it yet.”

Lundqvist will turn 38 on Monday, and he hasn’t started a game since Feb. 3. He has just three starts since Shesterkin was called up on Jan. 6, and Lundqvist knows there is a hard conversation coming with management after the season.

But for the 18 regular-season games that remain, Quinn is trying to start the goalie who is playing the best in hopes of keeping pace in the playoff race.

Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik LundqvistNHLI via Getty Images

“We’ve been fortunate that guys that have gone in have been very hot,” Quinn said before Friday’s game. “This time of year, I think it’s the best approach.”

The officiating on Friday from Francois St. Laurent and Pierre Lambert was haphazard, at best. A sequence midway through the second period — when Adam Fox was called for a ghostly holding penalty before Brett Howden and Ivan Provorov were called for coinciding minors — changed the tenor of the game. Once back at even strength, the Flyers scored twice in a span of 2:05 and went up 3-1.

“It doesn’t make any difference what I think about [the penalties],” Quinn said. “It’s part of the game, and we killed the penalty off.”

The Rangers were looking forward to their day off Saturday, having played three road games in the previous four nights and 10 games in the previous 17 days, including eight on the road and three sets of back-to-backs.

“We’re not looking for excuses, obviously, but it felt like maybe it was a little hard to play back-to-back again, against a really good team like that,” Georgiev said.

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