Maybe Cam Talbot's got a little Billy Smith in him.
The first-year backup, who backstopped the Rangers with 30 saves in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Senators, let Cory Conacher know he wasn't pleased after Conacher ran him from behind while he was clearing the puck behind the net in the second period.
As the teams left the ice for intermission, Talbot angled toward Conacher and banged him with his shoulder, but no further hostilities occurred.
"I didn't even know who it was until I watched the replay," said Talbot, who has allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of his 13 starts and leads the league in goals-against average at 1.62 and save percentage at .940. "First thing I did was get up and look at the ref, and he didn't have his hand up, so I was pretty upset about that. I don't know if he just missed it or . . . at that point, you've just got to let it go until I got the opportunity and let him know I wasn't pleased and let it go from there."
Talbot, who came back for the third period sharp, said he "wasn't really surprised, because that's the kind of player he is, and I'm not happy about it, so I took it upon myself to let him know that."
The reaction to Conacher was a little surprising because Talbot has been calm on the ice, but the collision didn't blur the 26-year-old's focus. He made 16 stops in the third period after only 14 in the first two.
"We knew they were going to come out hard being down 3-1," he said. "They have a lot of skill up front and on the back end, so we knew that was going to happen sooner or later."
Even the goal that gave the Senators a 1-0 lead -- Marc Methot's point shot that eluded Talbot through a screen at 3:37 of the first period -- didn't rattle him.
His attitude, Talbot said, is "just let it be done and over with. Focus on the next one. That's all you can do, especially that early in the game. You can't let anything affect you mentally. Just keep battling from there."
Coach Alain Vigneault said Talbot's play in the third period was typical. "You sort of expect that from Cam," he said. "Every time we've called upon him, he's always given us a chance to win."
Derek Stepan, awarded the Broadway Hat for his three-point game, also acknowledged the effort of Talbot, who is 10-3 and was playing only his second game in the last 11.
"We have everybody playing and contributing," Stepan said. "It's a huge part of winning in this league.''