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Lundqvist Facing Talbot for First Time

McDavid to Make MSG Debut

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The marquee reads Rangers vs. Oilers, but it'll also be Henrik Lundqvist against his former teammate Cam Talbot for the first time as opponents.

Talbot spent five years in the Rangers organization and two as the team's backup under Lundqvist before he was sent to Edmonton at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, Talbot has become the No. 1 netminder for an Oilers team that's off to a strong start in the Western Conference.

"We had a really great time together. A lot of great memories and we worked really hard together," Lundqvist said of Talbot. "I'm really happy for him. He's established himself really well in Edmonton now."

With that said, the two opposing goaltenders won't be having much interaction once the puck drops.

"He's off to a good start, but when you're out there, you have to focus on your own game," Lundqvist added. "I'm not playing against Talbs. I'm playing against the Oilers, so in the end, it comes down to focusing on my own details in my game. It'll be special, and for him too, to come back here and play."

While this is the second season Talbot has been in Edmonton, Thursday is his first match against the Oilers as he didn't start either meeting between the two teams a season ago.

"I want it to be just another game," Talbot said. "Two points is big any night and it's no different tonight. I just know a few guys across the hall, that's all."

Talbot said he learned a lot from Lundqvist during his time with the organization, but the thing he took with him to Alberta was No. 30's work ethic.

"I got to learn a lot from Hank, most of all just being a pro," Talbot said. "You come to the rink and it's time to work. I think that was the biggest thing I took from him, was just his work ethic and I think that's what I've kind of molded myself into and just came to the rink every day ready to go and try and make myself better every day."

Thursday also marks the Madison Square Garden debut for 2015 first-overall pick Connor McDavid, who missed last year's stop due to injury.

"I think everyone talks about MSG and the history it has and the meaning it has in the sports world. It's definitely special to play here," the 19-year-old said.

According to Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, the task of stopping him comes down to strong team defense.

"He seems like he's going faster with the puck than without it," McDonagh said of McDavid. "[We] have to make sure we don't lose our third guy in the zone and give him those odd-man looks where he can capitalize and make things happen." 

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