New York Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot will have his father, Mark, watching in person when he gets the start Saturday when the team's annual "Dads Trip" comes to Music City for a game against the Nashville Predators.
But having his father in the stands won't be the only thing making the night special as Talbot gets his first start since making 22 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, on Nov. 16. Talbot played college hockey at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, located about 100 miles south of Nashville. The Ontario native didn't say if he expected an Alabama contingent at Bridgestone Arena, but he was excited to continue New York's hot goaltending of late, which saw a high point Thursday when Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars.
"I look at it as just me going out there and getting the chance to play again, try and do what [Lundqvist] did and give the team a chance to win," Talbot said Friday. "He did a heck of a job last night, and I'm going to go in there tomorrow and try to do the same."
Defenseman Marc Staal appeared to be injured Thursday in Dallas after taking a shot off his foot. But his X-rays came back negative and he will play Saturday.
The Predators will again be without forward Filip Forsberg, who remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Nashville isn't likely to rush Forsberg back, and the Predators have outscored their opponents 13-4 during their first three-game win streak this season.
The Nashville offense has been a major spark during this streak, but the key may be the play of rookie goaltender Marek Mazanec, who has started in all three wins and has a .957 save percentage. Mazanec is expected to make his fourth straight start Saturday.
Here are the projected lineups for the Rangers and Predators:
Injured: Taylor Pyatt (concussion)
Scratched: Mattias Ekholm