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Rangers starting Talbot doesn't surprise Lundqvist

by Mike G. Morreale

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist confirmed after an optional morning skate that Cam Talbot would start in goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

It will be the second time this season the 26-year-old Talbot will be making consecutive starts. He made 37 saves in a victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 30 and 29 saves in a loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 2.

Talbot is coming off a 25-save, 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday at MSG. Lundqvist, who is 1-4-2 in his past seven starts, isn't surprised by coach Alain Vigneault's decision to start Talbot.

"I'm not surprised I'm not playing with the way Cam has been playing and we got a big win [Sunday]," Lundqvist said. "I expected he'd get another start. It's about winning and this team getting points and he's doing really well. I have to push myself to get better and help the team get points in order to get more starts."

Lundqvist was asked if he still was feeling the effects of a neck injury he sustained in a 4-3 shootout loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 18.

"Not really," he said. "When you're out there you don't think about it. It's still stiff but it doesn't bother me at all on the ice."

Lundqvist acknowledged he has viewed video of his recent starts with goalie coach Benoit Allaire.

"I always watch tape and go over every game … the good and bad things," he said. "It's been some good stuff and stuff that needs to be corrected. My last game [a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 20] was tough. I didn't face that many shots but had a couple of breakdowns and there were some breakaways and 2-on-1 opportunities. I just need to stay positive."

Lundqvist faced 19 shots in the loss to the Islanders.

"The only thing I can do is work as hard as a I can," he said. "Every start you get you try and use it as an opportunity to play well and feel good about your game and help the team win; that's my only mindset right now. Especially in practice, I try not to think too much. Just go as hard as you can until you start to feel good physically."

Talbot is 7-2-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 11 games. He will be making his first start against the Maple Leafs on Monday.

"He's played well all year," Lundqvist said. "He's confident and playing very calm. He's very calm out there."

Here is the probable lineup for the Rangers against the Maple Leafs:

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Derick Brassard - Carl Hagelin

Brad Richards - J.T. Miller - Benoit Pouliot

Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

John Moore - Anton Stralman

Michael Del Zotto - Justin Falk

Cam Talbot

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Taylor Pyatt

Injured: Marc Staal (concussion), Ryan Callahan (knee)

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