MONTREAL - It's Cam Talbot's turn to try to ring some changes at Bell Centre, where the Rangers have been notoriously off-key in recent seasons.
Talbot, the backup goaltender who is 3-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, gets the nod Saturday night over Henrik Lundqvist, who will play Sunday at home against the Kings.
The Blueshirts haven't won here since a 4-3 shootout win in March 2009, and neither Lundqvist, who has been bedeviled in Montreal since 2008, nor now-retired Martin Biron, who was in the net for both 3-0 losses here last season, has had much success. Since Feb. 19, 2008, the Rangers are 1-8-2. This year's edition of the Canadiens, who played in Columbus on Friday, is 5-4-2 at home.
Another significant lineup change involves defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who will be a healthy scratch for the second time this season. Del Zotto (1-3-4 in 15 games and inconsistent defensively) was benched for almost the entire third period Tuesday. He also had been a healthy scratch Oct. 19 against the Devils. Justin Falk, who has played just three games, is expected to join John Moore on the third pair.
Center Dominic Moore also will dress after missing seven games with a strained oblique muscle.
Talbot is excited about starting in Montreal, with its passionate fans and where his favorite player, Patrick Roy, once dominated.
"You always want to go in and look for the two points, you never want to think about what's happened in the past," Talbot said, echoing what coach Alain Vigneault said earlier in the week. "You just want to keep looking forward and maybe start a streak of our own. We have to come out flying. We know they're going to come out pretty hot in their own building, so we've got to match their intensity and their tempo and maybe weather the storm for the first five minutes and then go after them."
Notes & quotes: In another step toward returning, Rick Nash practiced again, took some contact while skating on a power-play unit, and made the trip. Nash will miss his 16th game after being concussed Oct. 8. "It's probably a big relief for him to get back into a bit of a schedule and that will probably do wonders for his mental state also," Brad Richards said . . . Recent losses to the Canadiens have not all been the fault of the goaltenders. The Blueshirts also were blanked by Peter Budaj, 2-0, on opening night at the Garden on Oct. 28 . . . Former Ranger Brandon Prust, who has missed 10 games with a shoulder injury, could be back in the Canadiens' lineup . . . With Moore back, Brandon Mashinter also will be a healthy scratch.