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Rangers to rely on Talbot as they visit Predators

by Robby Stanley

RANGERS (30-15-4) at PREDATORS (33-12-6)


Season series: The New York Rangers and Nashville Predators split two games last season. Cam Talbot made 17 saves as the Rangers shut out the Predators 2-0 in Nashville on Nov. 23. Carter Hutton made 28 saves for the Predators in a 4-1 win in New York on Dec. 10.

Rangers team scope: New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will miss at least three weeks with what the team called a vascular injury sustained this past Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lundqvist was hit in the throat by a shot in that game and missed a 3-2 win Wednesday against the Boston Bruins. Rick Nash scored his 32nd goal of the season against the Bruins. The Rangers have won three games in a row and are 11-4-0 in the past 15 games. Talbot made 18 saves against Boston and will start against Nashville. "He's going to be the starter on Saturday, and he is focused on that," Vigneault said of Talbot, according to "That's where his mind has to be, on the moment, it has to be on the present. His last five, six games he's been playing extremely well. He's definitely picked up his level of play."

Predators team scope: Goaltender Pekka Rinne made his return to the lineup for Nashville on Thursday in a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Rinne made 21 saves on 25 shots and is 29-7-2. Forward Craig Smith missed practice Friday and forward Olli Jokinen took his place on the first line alongside Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro, who is one point away from 700 for his career. Forward Colin Wilson scored his 17th goal of the season against Anaheim, setting a career high for goals and points (36). Nashville is 3-0-0 in matinee games (before 4 p.m. ET start time) this season. The Predators play the third of 10 February games at Bridgestone Arena, where they are 20-3-1.

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