GOR­GEOUS, GE­ORGIEV

Ranger goalie stops 55 shots on birth­day

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - RANGERS 4 MAPLE LEAFS 1

Af­ter his team al­lowed 56 shots on goal, Rangers coach David Quinn thought the de­fense was pretty good.

He had Alexan­dar Ge­orgiev to thank for that.

Ge­orgiev made a ca­reer­high 55 saves to lead the Blueshirts over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, on Sun­day night. It was the sec­ond-most saves in a reg­u­lar-sea­son game in fran­chise his­tory. Mike Richter holds the record with 59 on Jan. 31, 1991.

“He played out­stand­ing. He’s get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter,” Quinn said of his sec­ond-year goalie on his 23rd birth- day.

“It was a spe- cial birth­day,” Ge­orgiev said. “I tried not to con­cen­trate on the birth­day wishes. I knew I had an im­por­tant game in front of me. I’m very happy it ended the way it ended.”

Mika Zibane­jad, Jimmy Ve­sey and Adam McQuaid scored for the Rangers, who fin­ished their five-game home­s­tand at 22-1.

“Some­times you need a per­for­mance like this and he came up big for us, gave us a chance,” Zibane­jad said of Ge­orgiev.

Kevin Hayes added an empty-net­ter, and Mats Zuc­carello and Chris Krei­der each picked up two as­sists.

Kasperi Ka­pa­nen scored for the Maple Leafs, who saw their four-game win­ning streak end.

“We played a pretty good game,” Ka­pa­nen said. “Their goalie made 55 saves. He played a tremen­dous game. That’s just hockey.”

Toronto took a sea­son­high 56 shots on goal, forc­ing Ge­orgiev to be at his best through­out. He be­came the sev­enth goalie in fran­chise

his­tory with 50 or more saves in a game. The pre­vi­ous goalie to do it was Hen­rik Lundqvist last year — also on his birth­day.

The Rangers penalty killers also helped to slow down the Maple Leafs. Toronto went 0 for 4 on the power play de­spite man­ag­ing 23 shots.

“I ac­tu­ally thought we de­fended pretty well,” Quinn said. “That’s a scary, scary team. I mean they have high-end tal­ent. They can beat you 1-on-1, but boy I thought we did a good job clear­ing the net front out. They didn’t have many sec­ond chances.”

Lead­ing 2-1 in the third pe­riod, McQuaid gave the Rangers some in­sur­ance when he scored from the point at 11:59 for his sec­ond goal of the sea­son.

The Rangers, who were blanked by Carolina on Fri­day, got off to a fast start against the Leafs.

Krei­der sent a pass from be­hind the net to Zuc­carello, who was alone in front. Toronto backup goalie Gar­ret Sparks stopped Zuc­carello twice, but the loose puck went to Zibane­jad, who scored his 23rd of the sea­son just 28 sec­onds into the game.

Given the early lead, Ge­orgiev was sharp in mak­ing sev­eral stel­lar saves on the Maple Leafs’ power play min­utes later.

“It was in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to keep it 1-0 at that point,” Ge­orgiev said. “The boys did a great job. We killed that penalty and it was a bit eas­ier af­ter that.”

GETTY

Alexan­dar Ge­orgiev kicks away third-pe­riod shot from Leafs’ Pa­trick Mar­leau Sun­day night at Gar­den.

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