NEW YORK -- Last week, we saw Alain Vigneault quickly stifle any potential of a goaltending controversy.
After Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks? Not so much.
Asked if he would consider returning Monday to backup netminder Cam Talbot, who recorded his first win at Madison Square Garden following a stellar 35-save performance, Vigneault did not refute the possibility.
Instead, the New York Rangers' coach said he had already decided on a starter for Monday’s match against the Winnipeg Jets, but had yet to inform his two goaltenders.
Vigneault didn't want to tip his hand just yet.
When pressed further about a potential scenario in which the 26-year-old Talbot could play so well that it would force Vigneault’s hand, the coach politely tabled the query.
“We’ll get to that on Monday,” he said as he strode away from the lectern following his postgame news conference.
Though it still seems likely that starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will get the start Monday, especially considering the team has two days off before hosting the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, it was an interesting decision by Vigneault not to disclose who will get the nod.
Could he be trying to motivate Lundqvist?
It's true, the former Vezina Trophy winner got off to a rocky start this season, but he has played much better of late. Yet the Rangers have played extremely well in front of Talbot, whose steadiness and poise far surpass his experience.
Saturday’s effort was a career-high for the former University of Alabama-Huntsville standout. He has recorded six straight wins and has yet to surrender more than two goals in his first seven career starts, a first in franchise history.
For some historical perspective, Talbot is the first Rangers goaltender to record six straight wins in his first year with the team in more than 70 years. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last person to do it was Jim Henry (seven wins) in the 1941-42 season.
Again, it stands to reason that Lundqvist will be between the pipes against the Jets on Monday.
If he’s not, though, buckle up.