Over his last 15 games, the Cam Talbot is 10-2-3. It’s usually Henrik Lundqvist’s job to man the pipes, but because of his injury, he needs to take some time off . Talbot has stepped in for the Rangers and fit in quite nicely, carrying a nice 2.33 GAA and a .921 save % on the year. With his play recently against three very good teams (Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, giving up three total goals), it makes you think: Could the Rangers go to the Stanley Cup Finals with Cam Talbot in net?
Ok, before I go on, this situation will only exist if Lundqvist does not come back for the rest of the year. From what we’ve been hearing, he should return sooner rather than later, so there are no scares to be had. But it’s fun to wonder, right?
There is no doubt in saying that Talbot did not get off to a very good start after Lundqvist’s injury. However, he has seemed to turn it around these past couple of weeks, as the Rangers have only one regulation loss in their last 14 games. The main reason, besides their goal scoring, is that Talbot is giving them a chance to win every single night. The Rangers have the second best goal differential in the league (+43), and if you look at these past three games, you can see that they don’t need to score four goals a game to win. Sure it would be nice, but they have perhaps the best goaltending tandem in the league to bail them out if they don’t.
Ok, so back to my main question. The Rangers are fighting for the top spot in their division, and could even squeak out home ice advantage for the eastern playoffs. However, many people are saying there are better teams around them. The three teams that I hear coming up are Tampa Bay, Montreal, and the Islanders. Let’s look at their three situations:
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Tampa Bay– Ben Bishop has not played in a single playoff game
Montreal– Currently 22nd in the league in goals per game, rely too much on Carey Price
Islanders– Not enough playoff experience to make a deep run just yet
Also people are bringing up Boston and Detroit as possible threats, but they have flaws as well. I think Boston is too old to compete with faster teams come playoff time. Same goes for Detroit, and they have not gotten past the second round since Jimmy Howard has been their starting goaltender.
Pittsburgh and Washington could also surprise people, but don’t be shocked if the same things happen to them that happen every year. Marc-Andre Fleury implodes, and Washington doesn’t go past the second round. I’m not saying that upsets couldn’t happen, because the east is a race for someone to take. Talbot has played in half of a playoff game last year, so the Rangers do have that working against them. However, with the way the Rangers defense looks right now, come playoff time, it would be hard to score goals on them, especially with Lundqvist in net.
Say what you want about him, but Cam Talbot has played well enough for the Rangers to make a push towards first place in the Metropolitan Division. So, could the Rangers make a run at the cup with Talbot in net? Again, this is just a scenario that would take place only if Lundqvist does not come back from injury. Answer in the poll below, and if I forgot anything, just let me know in the comments!