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NHL: 3 key points for Thursday night's games

02/19/2015 12:23 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT
Three Canadian NHL teams play on Thursday night. Vancouver visits the Rangers at 7 p.m. ET, Winnipeg is in Washington at 7 p.m. ET and Montreal hosts Florida at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Here's a key point for each of those games:

Cam Talbot is not Lou Gehrig

Some saw disaster (or at least decline) when the Rangers announced a couple of weeks ago that star goalie Henrik Lundqvist would miss at least three weeks with a "vascular" injury suffered when he was hit in the throat by a puck.

Wrong! Since backup Cam Talbot took the reins on Feb. 4, New York is 5-1-1, and the Rangers will try for their fifth win in a row tonight at MSG against Vancouver, who they've beaten five times in a row.

Lundqvist is in little danger, though, of getting Wally Pipped. Talbot has allowed a pedestrian three goals on average in his last seven starts, and his record looks great only because his teammates averaged more than four in that stretch.

Plus, let's see him make a speech like this:

Alex Ovechkin is everywhere

If the Jets hope to break their six-game losing streak against Washington (aggregate score: 26-10) they'll want to try shutting down Alex Ovechkin.

The NHL's leading goal scorer (37) has five in his last five games, and a knack for tormenting Winnipeg: he's scored at least once in his last five meetings with the Jets.

Lately, Ovechkin has been making news with his non-scoring antics. After being accused of diving by Ryan Getzlaf, Ovechkin fired back at the balding Anaheim forward with a schoolyardish (and grammatically shaky) "Maybe he's just jealous. I have hair, he don't have hair."

Later that night, Ovechkin may or may not have intentionally slashed Pittsburgh's Kris Letang during a 3-1 Washington win to which the Caps star contributed a goal and an assist.

Carey Price is back in net

Montreal will have one of the NHL's two best goalies back in its crease as Carey Price returns from a night off.

Price is in a tight race for the Vezina Trophy with Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Price leads all qualifying netminders in goals-against average (1.93) and save percentage (.935) and ranks second in wins (32). Rinne is tops in wins (34) and a close second in the other two categories (1.94, .932), with quite a bit of breathing room between himself and the third-place guys.

Tonight, Price will try for his sixth win in a row. His GAA is 0.75 during a personal four-game win streak against the Panthers.

The Habs may lean heavily on Price down the stretch if they want to maintain their lead atop the Eastern Conference. Backup Dustin Tokarski has lost his last three starts after Tuesday's 4-2 defeat at Ottawa on Price's night off.

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