New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers will go with Cam Talbot in goal on Thursday night in Ottawa instead of Henrik Lundqvist, who will be in uniform for the first time since suffering a vascular injury seven weeks ago.
Lundqvist returned to practice this week for the first time since being sidelined with the injury. However, he is going to have to wait a little longer before he sees game action for the Rangers, who can clinch a playoff spot on Thursday.
"It's one more step in the right direction and I'm getting really excited to play," said Lundqvist on Thursday.
Talbot is 19-8-4 this season with a 2.19 goals against average, .927 save percentage and five shutouts. The Rangers have won 20 times over 24 games since losing Lundqvist and are in the mix for the best record in the league thanks to their backup netminder.
New York enters Thursday's game with a Metropolitan Division-leading 99 points, just one point shy of Atlantic Division-leading Montreal's NHL-best 100 points.
It's believed Lundqvist will see his first action in net this weekend as the Rangers travel to Boston on Saturday before returning home for a Sunday game against Washington.
Lundqvist learned of his vascular injury in early February. He actually remained in the game after taking the shot to the throat against the Hurricanes and played two days later in a 6-3 win over Florida, but didn't dress the following night and has been out of action ever since.
Lundqvist has a mark of a 25-11-3 with five shutouts and a 2.25 GAA in 39 games this season.