The bench got cut down, and Brendan Lemieux was on the outside looking in.
As the Rangers extended their winless streak to five games with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Coyotes on Tuesday night at the Garden, coach David Quinn went to nine forwards and Lemieux wasn’t one of them.
The gritty winger got only one shift over the final 14:20, and finished with 11:07 of ice time overall.
“I thought Lemieux had a tough night,” said Quinn, who also kept Lias Andersson and Greg McKegg on the bench, while Brendan Smith, previously a full-time defenseman, was out there pushing for a lead. “Smitty has been consistent with his effort and his energy. We ended up taking a penalty because Lemieux turned it over.
“But [Lemieux] has played well for us. I just thought it was one of those nights he didn’t have it.”
Quinn went with the reliable Jesper Fast in the top-line role alongside Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, but was often rotating Chris Kreider into that spot over the second and third periods. That also happened after some of the Rangers five penalty kills, as Kreider doesn’t currently kill penalties.
“Just changing it up from time to time, giving Kreids and opportunity,” Quinn said.
Goalie Alexandar Georgiev was terrific in his third start of the season, making 32 saves and often keeping his disjointed team in the game.
“I try to keep the team in the game all the time,” Georgiev said. “I don’t think too much about the score. Just try to play the same way, every shot.”
Georgiev was bombarded with 21 shots in the first period, but turned all of them aside except for one from Lawson Crouse, left alone in front at 13:06.
“It’s important to start right,” Georgiev said. “I was solid from the start.”
The 23-year-old said he needs to look at the video to decide what he might be able to do better on the overtime winner from Christian Dvorak, who beat him up high inside the near post.
Defenseman Tony DeAngelo scored twice in his 100th game with the Rangers, which also happened to come against a Coyotes team that traded him here in the summer of 2017 as part of the deal that sent Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to Arizona.
“I’m sure that plays a role against a team that traded him,” Quinn said.
Micheal Haley was a healthy scratch, as McKegg drew back in after being out on Sunday.