When Kirk McLean was pulled after giving up 3 goals on 16 shots, Rangers coach Ron Low gave Vitali Yeremeyev the news that he would be taking over between the pipes.
Yeremeyev was solid in his debut, although he picked up the loss. When he entered the game it was currently 3-1 Carolina, and Yeremeyev made a flurry of saves within the first 30 seconds of action that made him feel more comfortable in the net. He did not have to be flashy, as Carolina’s play slowed down the rest of the game. The Rangers were able to tie the score at 3-3 on goals by Radek Dvorak and Theoren Fleury. But with 4:09 left in the 3rd, the ‘Canes were able to finally get one by the 25 year old goaltender.
You can’t really blame Yeremeyev on the goal. It was one of those across the crease tap-ins that not even the best goalies can make the save. Yeremeyev kept the Rangers in the game from the time he took the ice, and the Rangers did not capitalize on their chances, as Mike York hit the post on an open net and they failed to score on a 3rd period power play. With Mike Richter scheduled to come off injured reserve today, I wonder what will happen to Yeremeyev. I wouldn’t pass on the thought of trading Kirk McLean. He’s a UFA at season’s end and could be worth a mid-round draft pick to a team in need of a backup goalie. Time will tell, as they say..