Cam Talbot in net tonight vs. Wild; Marc Staal sidelined but skating

Cam Talbot prepares to play against the Winnipeg

Cam Talbot prepares to play against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 2, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

I'm travelling today and Newsday's Will Sammon is filling in tonight at MSG. I'll be back for the Leafs game tomorrow, then on to DC and Florida as 2013 winds down.

Anyway, for Henrik Lundqvist, it’s time for a break.

Talbot will start Sunday instead of Lundqvist in the eighth game of what has been a catastrophic franchise-record nine-game homestand.

Lundqvist has started eight consecutive games, dating back to the win at Buffalo on Dec. 5. He surrendered at least three goals in each of the last seven games and the Rangers have won only once (1-4-2).

This season, the 31-year-old Lundqvist, who signed a seven-year, $59.5-million contract extension just before the homestand, is 10-15-2 with a 2.77 GAA and .905 save percentage.

It’s no dethronement for Lundqvist, however. Coach Alain Vigneault had said earlier in the week he wanted to play Talbot at least once during the homestand.

Talbot, 26, has played well in his role since being called up from the AHL on Oct. 15 (6-2-0, 1.74 GAA, .934), but hasn't started since a Dec. 2 loss to Winnipeg.

He logged 47:47 in relief Dec. 12. There were 14 shots against him and he allowed the final goal of the Rangers’ 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets.

Also, in a good sign, Marc Staal, who sustained a concussion on Dec. 7, skated yesterday and planned to skate after today's morning skate at the Garden. Vigneault had said last week that the defenseman was doing better and working out off ice, no there's progress. .

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