DETROIT - There was a little Motor City magic the last time Cam Talbot was between the pipes at Joe Louis Arena: 32 saves and a 3-2 overtime win, Talbot's first in the NHL.
But that was more than a year ago -- Oct. 26, 2013, to be exact -- and we can only assume that Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is looking to recapture some of that magic when Talbot, Henrik Lundqvist's backup, starts again here Saturday night.
Talbot, 27, is riding a 125:34 shutout streak, including two blankings of the Flyers last month. But the Red Wings (15-6-5) are not the shaky Flyers and are 10-3-2 this season in the rink near the river that has been their home for 35 years.
And consider this: Lundqvist had a shutout streak of 211:08 against the Red Wings spanning four games (all at the Garden) that was broken when Jakub Kindl scored in the second period of the Rangers' 4-3 overtime victory over Detroit Nov. 5.
Let the second-guessing begin.
Lundqvist presumably will start against the Penguins at home on Monday, and Vigneault explained his decision as wanting to give some work to Talbot at a time when the Rangers (11-9-4) are playing only three games in 13 days.
To be sure, Lundqvist cannot be tired: The team has had four days off since a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night, when Lundqvist allowed several stoppable goals.
Also, his numbers compared with last season at this point are a bit worse in two critical categories.
On Dec. 4, 2013, the day he signed a seven-year, $59.5- million contract extension, Lundqvist had a 2.51 GAA and a .917 save percentage. This season, it's 2.70 and .905. Talbot is 2-2-1, 2.21, .924 in five starts, but he is not usurping The King.
Lundqvist's track record, competitiveness and leadership speak for themselves. On Thursday, he gathered his defensemen on ice for a combination chalk/pep talk.
"At this point, it's about the details in the game, how we push each other, how we talk out there," Lundqvist said Thursday. "You try to look at the bigger picture, but it's also the small details within the game that you try to improve. When you're losing, you just need to tweak it a little bit."
Notes & quotes: Derick Brassard scored the OT winners last season in Detroit and at the Garden . . . Left wing Tanner Glass (mumps), who will miss his fifth straight game, skated with the team on Friday in New York but did not make the trip.