Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist a healthy scratch on Igor Shesterkin’s big night

RALEIGH, N.C. — If ever there was a perfect time to start Henrik Lundqvist, Friday against the Hurricanes would have been it. Instead, the Rangers’ legendary goaltender was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career and watched the game from the stands with his mother, as the players’ moms are along on this two-game road trip.

When it was decided Igor Shesterkin would get the start in what ended up a 5-2 Rangers victory, Lundqvist decided to put in a lot of extra work during and after the morning skate. He and coach David Quinn then decided that it would be best to have Alexandar Georgiev back up.

“Hank had a very heavy workday today just because he hasn’t played a lot we don’t have a lot of practices,” Quinn said of Lundqvist, who has started just three games since Shesterkin’s arrival on Jan. 6. “That was strictly Hank’s decision.”

Lundqvist had started all three previous games against the Hurricanes this season, and won them all, including the 45-save gem at PNC Arena on Nov. 7. During his 15-year career, Lundqvist has dominated the Hurricanes to a tune of a 33-12-1 record, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik LundqvistAP

Center Filip Chytil got only two third-period shifts and didn’t play the final 17:31 of regulation, with Quinn saying it was “an upper-body thing,” the severity of which he wouldn’t know until later Friday night.

As Quinn walked down the hallway after his postgame press conference, he yelled to the assemblage of players’ mothers, “Moms’ Trip extended!” The group had been with the team since the start of the road trip with Wednesday night’s 6-3 win in Chicago.

“They’re a lot of fun to be around,” Quinn said. “It’s fun to watch the players interact with their mothers, and how excited they all are to be here, and how proud they are of their children — and they should be. It’s not easy to make it to the National Hockey League.”

Julien Gauthier stayed in the lineup against the team that traded him on Tuesday, getting 5:25 of ice time, with just two shifts in each of the second and third periods. The 22-year-old winger, standing 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, was obtained in exchange for defenseman Joey Keane, and has played on a line with Brendan Lemieux and Brett Howden.

“You can see there’s an awful lot there,” Quinn said.

Forward Greg McKegg was a healthy scratch for the second straight game, this one against the team he played with for parts of the past two seasons. Brendan Smith was also a scratch.

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