Tuesday was a very similar day to Monday at the MSG Training Center as the Rangers continued to prepare for their first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Two practices---the second focusing on special teams work---followed by a team video session. Ryane Clowe and Brian Boyle did not skate. Marc Staal did, as did Derek Dorsett in the yellow non-contact jersey.
Only one major difference from Monday. No Henrik Lundqvist.
No reason to panic, though, Rangers fans. With the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals not starting until Thursday night in Washington D.C. Lundqvist was just given a well-deserved day off.
Lundqvist was quite the busy goaltender this season, especially in the month of April when he started all 14 games for the Rangers---posting a 10-3-1 mark down the stretch as the Blueshirts earned their third straight berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He started 43 of the team's 48 games this season, tying for the league lead with 24 wins, ranking fifth with a .926 save percentage, and seventh with a 2.05 goals against average.
"We know what we have back there in Hank," said center Derek Stepan. "He's the best in the world. He's so good you almost take him for granted. Hank really is our rock."
The Rangers did have a second goalie on the ice along with backup Martin Biron on Tuesday and it was Cam Talbot, who appeared in 55 games with the Connecticut Whale this season, posting a solid 2.63 goals against average, .918 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Talbot is part of a nine-player Taxi Squad the Rangers have called up from the Whale for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These players are working out on their own and will be available on an as-needed basic throughout the post-season.
"It's a great opportunity for (the NHL staff) to see me," explained Talbot on Tuesday. "I did it last year and it's a great experience, you really get a feel of what goes on in the playoffs. I thought today went well, (Benoit Allaire) said I looked good."
Talbot and the rest of the Black Aces---fellow goalie Jason Missiaen, defensemen Dylan McIlrath and Stu Bickel, and forwards J.T. Miller, Christian Thomas, Ryan Bourque, Brandon Segal, and Brandon Mashinter---will not travel to Washington with the rest of the Rangers for Games 1 and 2 this week. Instead they will work out at the MSG Training Center. They will attend all home playoff games at Madison Square Garden.