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Lundqvist sidelined at least three weeks with vascular injury

Bobby Bevilacqua

lundqvist profile 2-2

The Rangers will be without their star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for at least three weeks due to a vascular injury, though he could potentially be out for longer. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a surprise announcement that Henrik Lundqvist would miss his start against the Boston Bruins, the Rangers announced this afternoon that star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will miss at least three weeks with a vascular injury, meaning having to do with the veins, related to the shot he took to the neck against the Caroline Hurricanes on January 31st.

While he will definitely be sidelined for at least three weeks, it could potentially be longer, with the Rangers also announcing that at that point, he will be reevaluated for his injury. Depending on what is found during the next three weeks and after the reevaluation, he could miss more time, or he will be available to play when the three weeks is up.

Despite the Rangers saying three weeks, other reports have said that the injury could sideline him for four to six weeks, which would be a huge blow to the Rangers. If that is true, they may need to search for a quality backup to Cam Talbot, who is currently being backed up by the 20 year old Mackenzie Skapski. Skapski has never started a game in the NHL.

The Rangers have not released a lot of information, as they are likely still looking into the injury. Head coach Alain Vigneault said in a press conference that he didn’t have any more information, but will inform the press when he does find out more about the extent of the injury.

The good news is as of now, there has not been anything found relating to concussions (Lundqvist had been complaining about bad headaches) or blood clots, a huge relief for the Rangers.

Lundqvist did start the game after he was hit by the puck, and while some may blame the trainers for letting him start, it is more about Lundqvist being a competitior. This is likely an easier injury to hide than others, so it is hard to put the blame on the Rangers medical staff.

Lundqvist was off to a fantastic start to the season, with a record of 25-11-3 in his first 39 starts. He also has a 2.25 GAA and a .922 save percentage, tops in the league.

In the meantime, Cam Talbot will get a huge opportunity to prove himself, as he will be the starting goaltender for the New York Rangers for the next three weeks, potentially longer. Talbot has won 17 of his 27 career starts, and has been extremely reliable for the Rangers as a backup. In a small sample size this season, Talbot has a 5-4-1 record, a 2.14 GAA, and a .924 save percentage in 12 appearances, 10 of them being starts.

cam talbot 11-3

The Rangers will have to rely on Cam Talbot as their starting goaltender for the foreseeable future. Talbot has been a quality backup for the Rangers over the last two seasons, and will get an opportunity to prove himself in the coming weeks. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Talbot will start in Nashville on Saturday, making his second consecutive start for just the second time in his career. He is confident that he will make the most of this opportunity.

“My mindset doesn’t change in the fact that I always want to give my team the best chance to win,” said Talbot on Friday. “Perhaps there is a different mindset, maybe a bit more relaxed, knowing I’ll get a couple of games in a row instead of one every two weeks or so; but in the end I work just as hard as I always do.”

The players all trust Talbot to step up and take Lundqvist’s place for the time being, and so does head coach Alain Vigneault.

“He’s going to be the starter on Saturday, and he is focused on that,” Vigneault said of Talbot. “That’s where his mind has to be, on the moment, it has to be the present. His last five, six games he has been playing extremely well. He’s definitely picked up his level of play.”

The game on Saturday against the Predators poses a big challenge for the Rangers, as Nashville is one of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Predators have also been phenomenal at home, with a truly outstanding record of 20-3-1 at the Bridgestone Arena.

Mackenzie Skapski will backup Talbot on Saturday, and with the Rangers playing the Dallas Stars on Sunday, could be making his first ever NHL start at Madison Square Garden, especially with a busy February ahead of them.

mackenzie skapski

Mackenzie Skapski will serve as the backup to Cam Talbot for now. Skapski may also get a chance to start on Sunday, with the Rangers starting back-to-back games for this weekend. Photo courtesy of the New York Rangers.

 

Talbot said he met with Skapski, introducing himself and welcoming him to the team.

“I made sure to greet him and talk with him, just like Hank did with me when I was called up,” Talbot said. “I got to know him a bit in training camp, and he’s a good goaltender. Benoit Allaire (the Rangers goaltending coach) has lots of good things to say about him.”

The only other lineup change for the Rangers on Saturday will be JT Miller making his reappearance in the lineup, replacing Lee Stempniak. Miller believes that he didn’t play in the last two games because he “didn’t play well enough” in Sunday’s win over the Hurricanes. Miller said that it was his play with the puck, such as some turnovers, rather than his play away from the puck that got him removed from the lineup.

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Posted on February 6, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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