After the New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 in New York on NBC Sports’ Wednesday Night Rivalry, one would figure that Rangers’ starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is due a day of rest. And with the Rangers heading out west for their last road trip of the season, one would also figure that the first game of the road trip against the Calgary Flames would have been that day that Lundqvist would get that well-deserved game off. Well, it was not.
I know the Rangers still need points because they have yet to clinch a playoff spot, but rookie backup goaltender Cam Talbot is a more than capable backup, whose numbers show that he can hold is own and even be a starter for some teams. Talbot is 11-6 on the season with a 1.76 goals against average, and with those numbers, it is hard to not trust him in a game against the Flames. Plus, in a lot of games that Talbot has started in, the Rangers have played their best hockey, and probably could have used a simple switch in net as a spark in their first game after a lengthy plane ride to Alberta, Canada.
However, head coach Alain Vigneault decided to give Lundqvist the start again, but it was to no avail, as the Flames ended up beating the Rangers in regulation by a 4-3 score. It was a sloppy game from beginning to end for the Rangers against a Flames team they should have easily beat, as they currently sit in second to last place in the entire Western Conference.
So, while I don’t know why Lundqvist started against the Flames last night, now I do know that Vigneault will be forced to send Lundqvist back out there for the Rangers’ next game against the Edmonton Oilers, because with only seven games left in the regular season and playoffs still up in the air, the Rangers cannot afford to go on a losing streak.