With New York Rangers‘ star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist sitting out tomorrow’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, and maybe more, due to a “minor issue,” rookie Cam Talbot will get his first NHL regular season start in net — and in my opinion, will be a big one.
Now, what do I mean?
Well, the Rangers have been struggling mightily all season so far and have a 2-5 record to show for it. However, the Flyers are actually playing worse right now and are 1-7. And while you cannot say this is a must-win game, being that it is only game No. 8 for the Rangers, I can say, though, that I think there will be pressure on the Rangers to beat the Flyers tomorrow.
The reason is because the Rangers long nine-game road trip is finally nearing it’s end, and after the Flyers, the Rangers finish off their nine-game road trip against one of the newest members of the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings are a franchise that has consistently made the playoffs and have been Stanley Cup contenders for the greater part of three decades now, and it does not look as if they plan on stopping any time soon. The Red Wings are currently 6-3-1 and while anything can happen in sports, it would certainly not bode well for the Rangers’ confidence and chances of beating the Wings if the Rangers cannot get two points against the Flyers tomorrow night. If this is the case, then that means the Rangers would enter into their first home game of the 2013-14 season with a 2-7 record, and you would be able to cut the tension with a knife in Madison Square Garden on that night.
Now, I honestly do not think the pressure to win will all be on Talbot, for obvious reasons of being a rookie making his first-ever start, plus, I am sure many things will be swirling in his head during the course of the game. So by pressure to win, who I am referring to is the Rangers’ skaters, who need to provide Talbot with enough offensive and defensive support against a struggling Flyers team in order to get those two very big points.
Let me repeat, it is not a must-win, but it sure is close to one for a Rangers team looking to find any type of consistency and get on track this season.