The Rangers will play Game One of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday night in Los Angeles without their backup goaltender Cam Talbot. The team's head coach Alain Vigneault announced a bit more than two hours before the 5:00 PM local time drop of the puck that Talbot, who has not practiced since the Rangers clinched a berth in the final last Thursday, will not be able to play, but would not elaborate as to the nature of his injury.
David LeNeveu, the 31 year-old veteran, will dress as Henrik Lundqvist's backup instead of Talbot. He has been practicing with the Rangers since Sunday after working out with the group of Black Aces that have been on call just in case a moment like this arose. After playing in Europe, LeNeveu joined the Rangers minor league affiliate in Hartford during this season, playing well down the stretch.
"I know what (goaltending coach Benoit Allaire) has told me, that (LeNeveu) was 9-1-1 down in Hartford and that's he's an experienced guy," Vigneault said of LeNeveu, who has 21 games of NHL experience in his career. "He's been practicing with our team during the playoffs and with our guys from Hartford. He's a good goaltender."
Lundqvist, of course, will start the Stanley Cup Final opener against the Los Angeles Kings, and has started the previous 20 playoff games played by the Blueshirts this spring. He leads the league with a .928 save percentage, is second with a 2.03 goals against average, and has won seven of his last eight starts.
Talbot has appeared twice in relief of Lundqvist in the 2014 post-season. He played a scoreless third period in Game Six of the opening round against the Philadelphia Flyers, and then took the loss in relief of Lundqvist in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final in Montreal eight days ago, surrendering two goals.