The New York Rangers needed an unlikely hero and got one in Cam Talbot.
They thought maybe it could be Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller after recalling them from the AHL. Yet it took an injury to the team’s backbone and a seemingly random call-up to give the Blueshirts the boost that they have been hurting for.
Through two games, Talbot has been nothing short of spectacular for the Rangers. With New York limping badly because of injury and inconsistency, it seemed like the end was already here once Henrik Lundqvist went down with an injury. On top of the loss of Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan, going a few games without “King” just seemed like icing on the garbage cake that has been New York’s season so far.
Talbot took to the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers, and only allowed two goals in his NHL debut. He was handed a 2-1 loss as the Rangers couldn’t find ways to score, but the slash in that column was hardly on the goalie. He started against the Detroit Red Wings and was outstanding again.
Through two games, he’s sporting a 1.94 GAA and a .934 save percentage.
For a team that’s trying to salvage a season, they need to lean on the hot hand to continue to win hockey games. If Carl Hagelin had dressed as a goalie, played the game with his mask on backwards and produced results like Talbot has, we’d say “yeah, just go with that!” as well.
The Rangers have a really simple goal right now: win as many games as possible.
Lundqvist wants to play in the team’s next game on Monday night, but he ought to get a seat on the bench as Talbot has frankly outplayed him at this point. Until the 26 year-old has a bad game, he should be the starting goalie in New York. If he doesn’t have a bad game, then things get really interesting as Lundqvist’s contract is up at the end of the season.
Will the Rangers ice Lundqvist just to keep him happy, or will they continue to go with the better goalie like the should?
Out of the gate, Lundqvist has been bad. There have been questions about his focus and he doesn’t seem engaged. The season shouldn’t be left to him in that state. Talbot clearly has the right mindset, and the Blueshirts have played better in front of him through the last two games.