Like Igor Shesterkin before him, Adam Huska will make his first start for the Rangers against the Colorado Avalanche.
It’s deja blue all over again.
New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant announced that goaltender Adam Huska will make his first career NHL start on Wednesday night when his Blueshirts battle the Colorado Avalanche (7 p.m. ET, MSG 2/NHL Network). Huska will face Colorado nearly two full calendar years to the day that regular Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin made first appeared, with his first start also coming against visitors from Denver at Madison Square Garden in January 2020.
In video released by SNY, Gallant mentioned that the Rangers’ condensed schedule put Huska in net. The Rangers (17-4-3) will play seven games over the next 14 days, starting with Wednesday’s visit from the Avalanche. It’s the latter half of a back-to-back after a 6-2 victory in Chicago on Tuesday.
Huska was called up from AHL Hartford earlier this week as the Rangers continue to work through Shesterkin’s non-contact lower-body injury sustained last Friday against San Jose. Alexandar Georgiev has taken over as the Rangers’ starter with Shesterkin out, earning wins in each of the past two contests.
“The kid’s getting his first chance,” Gallant said. “We’re looking forward to it. He’s excited, we’re excited.”
Huska, 24, joined the Rangers as a seventh-round pick (184th overall) in the 2015 draft. The Slovakia native has shared Hartford’s goaltending duties with NHL veteran Keith Kinkaid and has earned a 2.20 goals against average to go with a .924 save percentage and 2-3-1 record. He also appeared in two preseason games earlier this fall, stopping 18 of 22 shots.
The AHL hasn’t been Huska’s first exposure to Hartford hockey as he previously served as the University of Connecticut’s goaltender for three seasons.
Huska’s official NHL debut will be a trial by fire: though they’ve struggled to string wins together after a torrid November, Colorado (13-7-2) boasts one of the most explosive offenses in the NHL. The Avalanche have scored 92 goals this season, tied with Washington for the NHL’s second-best tally entering Wednesday night. Cale Makar leads the team with 11 goals, which also top all NHL defensemen, while Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen have 10 each.
Entering the final stanza of a five-game eastern swing, Colorado is coming off a 7-5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night. The Avalanche put up 50 shots on net and saw all but four skaters earn at least one point.
Huska will wear No. 32, last worn by fellow backup goaltender Antti Raanta (2016-17).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags