Early season struggles or have teams figured out Cam Talbot?
Cam Talbot is off to a slow start for the Rangers in 2014. He hasn’t been the wall he was last season.
During the 2013-2014 season Cam Talbot pushed Henrik Lundqvist for ice time, but this year he is letting in some goals that are questionable.
Last year Talbot posted 12 wins and had a .941 save percentage with a 1.64 goals against average.
So far this season Talbot has no wins an .846 save percentage and a 2.59 goals against average.
Having seen all 12 goals he surrendered this season I must say there are plenty of which the Rangers defensemen are the issue; however I still count 4 pucks that should be stopped. The issue is Talbot getting caught deep in his net. Three of those four goals are from long distance (Anisimov on October 11th, Bouwmeester on November 3rd, and Polak on November 8th).
Goaltenders in the NHL often need to be aggressive to cut down angles; when they sit back and rely too much on reaction we see pucks squirt in or just tick the post and get by. Henrik Lundqvist is the exception, Lundqvist plays deep and plays off his reaction game. Anyone who remembers last season remembers Lundqvist’s slow start when he was overplaying shots. He was just a bit out of his element and it showed. Right now Talbot is going through the same thing but on a smaller level.
This doesn’t mean that Talbot is bad, he has made some huge saves for this team. He was good in a relief effort for the Rangers on October 12th and he was excellent against the Blues up until that Bouwmeester goal.
Talbot’s struggles are a mix of teams doing homework on him, and him as a pro having to live up to a terrific first season in the NHL.
When Talbot is good, he’s calm and patient. Trying to play that way can get goalies drifting a bit deep, because they are trying not to overplay shots. He just needs to find that middle ground that helped him challenge Henrik Lundqvist for ice time last season.
It is incredibly hard for goalies to work out the kinks in their game when they aren’t playing often. Talbot sees a lot of time between starts and can’t get into the flow of the game.
I predict Talbot’s game to return to form within one of his next 3 starts, once he gets his confidence back he will return to being an excellent goalie.
He gets his first crack tonight against the Flyers.
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Below is a video of Cam Talbot teaching the world the fundamentals of goal tending.
This is a video of Talbot at goal tending school.