LAS VEGAS -- Playing behind Henrik Lundqvist, the fifth-winningest goalie in NHL history, backup Alexandar Georgiev knows he has to be on his game as well.
Georgiev stopped 38 shots for his second shutout of the season and the New York Rangers beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-0 on Sunday night.
"He’s been playing great, and I know I have to play really good hockey to get playing time," Georgiev said.
Georgiev, who recorded his first shutout of the season at New Jersey on Nov. 30, was making his fourth start in five games. It was the 23-year-old's fourth career shutout.
Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider scored 14 seconds apart in the first period, Jacob Trouba and Jesper Fast tallied second-period goals and Mika Zibanejad put the game to bed in the third period.
"Really fast team, and the building gave them a lot of energy," Georgiev said. "I was just trying to weather the storm, and the guys came up big with the first goal, and then the second right away. We started playing better as the game went on."
The Golden Knights had 70.8 % of the game's high-danger chances (17-7), but staked with an early lead, Georgiev was spectacular in shutting down one of the league's fastest teams.
While Lundqvist has 456 wins, Georgiev has a mere 26 in his short career but has looked every bit like a veteran.
"It’s definitely a luxury to have two goalies," said Zibanejad, who has registered a point in each of his six career games against the Golden Knights. "The trust level is very high on both of them. Obviously we lean on them quite a bit, so we try to make their lives as easy as possible, but there comes times when we have a dip in the game, and they’ve been stepping up, and that’s huge. That’s what you need."
Georgiev has stopped 169 of the last 174 shots he has faced (.971 save-percentage) over his last five appearances. He has made 30 or more saves in 10 of his 13 starts this season, including each of his last five. He has also allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last 10 appearances.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, hadn't been shutout since last Feb. 18 at Colorado. They came into the game with at least one goal in 52 consecutive regulation games, the third longest active streak behind Boston (84 games) and Florida (56).
Malcolm Subban, making his seventh straight start for Vegas, made 20 saves. The Golden Knights had their five-game point streak snapped as they dropped to 7-6-3 at home this season.
The game didn't come without a bit of controversy, though, as the Golden Knights lost rookie Cody Glass late in the second with the Rangers leading 4-0.
Brendan Lemieux came crashing into the 20-year-old with a spinning elbow to the temple that left Vegas' first-ever draft pick on his knees writhing in pain. Glass had to be helped off the ice and to the locker room.
While the 18,236 in attendance appeared ready for Vegas bruiser Ryan Reaves to make Lemieux answer for the hit, it was linemate William Carrier who dropped his gloves and called the Rangers’ forward out.
"We all saw what happened, and it can't happen," Carrier said. "I don't know if he did it on purpose, but he's gotta answer to it. Same for me when I do those kinds of hits. Just gotta answer to it and he did."
Kreider was fined $5,000 last season for an elbow on Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson, which was almost identical to the one thrown by Lemieux on Glass. Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said he is hoping the NHL's Department of Player Safety will review Lemieux "flying elbow to his head" and rule on what he called "a bad hit."
NOTES: Gallant said with just only practice since returning to the team after his father died, starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury needed more time before returning to the net. ... Donning a Golden Knights jersey, country music star Shania Twain cranked the pregame siren just before puck drop. ... Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Rangers have posted a 48-21-10 record in 79 games against teams in the Pacific Division. ... Lemieux played in his 100th career game.
Rangers: Play the second of their four-game road trip in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
Golden Knights: Host Chicago on Tuesday night.
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