Cam Talbot knows that he has played some real good hockey this season, winning nine of his twelve starts in his first NHL season to date, and he is also keenly aware how well his team---9-3-1 in their last 13 games---is playing, too. So when the Rangers visit the Senators Saturday afternoon with Talbot making the start in goal, it's safe to say that he wants to keep the roll--or rolls, in this case--going.
"The guys have been playing really well lately, and hopefully we all continue the way we've been playing," offered the 26 year-old Talbot following Friday's practice. "We want them to continue doing all the good things they've been doing, and hopefully I can play solid behind them, and we come away with another two points (Saturday). I just want to help keep the roll going."
It's been exactly two weeks since Talbot started a game--the 7-1 thrashing of the Maple Leafs up in Toronto--but Talbot believes that he has prepared himself both mentally and physically for long stretches without playing, knowing that Henrik Lundqvist is the team's unquestioned No. 1 goalie and will often go on runs like he is now, where he has started nine of the previous ten games.
"I just practice hard every day, working out with (goaltending coach Benoit Allaire) before and after practices, and do my best to stay focused each and every day for when I get my next chance," explained Talbot, who owns a microscopic 1.66 goals against average. "It's just fun now to watch (Lundqvist), it's kind of what you expect from Hank night-in and night-out. When Hank's at his best we're going to be a tough team to beat; and as a fellow goalie it's great being able to look up to him for leadership and guidance. I watch and learn from him."
Lundqvist stopped all 38 shots he faced in Thursday's 1-0 win over the Red Wings, but head coach Alain Vigneault decided to stick with his original game plan that Talbot would get a start this weekend with the Rangers playing back to back games, while also in the midst of playing 15 games in 29 nights.
"Hank's our guy here," stated Vigneault on Friday. "Cam's a young goaltender that every opportunity to to go in goal he becomes, in my estimation, a better goaltender; but Hank's the guy. The schedule being what it is, the demands of it, I am going to go with Cam (Saturday); but you need, especially in this year, two goaltenders to come in, chip in, and win some games. Both of our goaltenders have played really well for us."
Lundqvist is expected back between the pipes Sunday night at The Garden when the Rangers host the Washington Capitals.