When the Rangers skate against the Flyers in their second pre-season contest Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, veteran netminder Martin Biron will start in goal for the Blueshirts and play half the game before giving way to rookie Cam Talbot. It will be Biron's first action of the pre-season, and his first real test since head coach Alain Vigneault declared an open competition between Marty, Talbot, and Johan Hedberg for the back up goaltending spot on the team.
Biron has been Henrik Lundqvist's understudy for each of the past three seasons, appearing in 44 games in that span, though only six in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. Two seasons ago Biron appeared in 21 games, and posted a 12-6-2 record, numbers akin to what Vigneault told reporters he is looking for out of his backup in 2013-14.
"I didn't need to be told, I was coming into training camp anyway to show a new coaching staff what I can bring to this team like we did a couple years ago," Biron stated after Tuesday's morning skate.
Hedberg is in camp on a PTO, while Talbot appeared in a career-high 55 games with the Rangers' AHL affiliate last season. Biron is the incumbent, and is confident that he and Lundqvist provide the Rangers a quality tandem in goal.
"I want to give the organization that chance to feel like they have the best (goaltending) tandem in the league," said Biron. "I've worked really hard for that, and I keep working hard for that because it's a source of pride for goalie partners to be able to say we are the best in the league. I love watching Hank getting Vezina recognition and winning the trophy because it's a source of pride for me, as well. You want the coaching staff to feel confident to give you that chance."
Talbot played in relief of Lundqvist Monday night in New Jersey and allowed just one goal on 12 shots.
While no move regarding the four goaltenders still in training camp is expected at present, Vigneault did say he will cut his roster down to between 37 and 40 players tomorrow. The roster currently stands at 46, and Vigneault wants to trim it before the team heads to Western Canada to continue training camp on Thursday.