Goalie nods: Lundqvist ill, Talbot goes for Rangers; Kuemper starts fifth straight

News and notes from the crease…

Talbot in for Blueshirts

With Henrik Lundqvist ill and unable to dress tonight, the Rangers will start Cam Talbot against the Islanders — and are still in search of a backup.

Talbot is relatively fresh, having stopped 29 of 30 shots in a 4-1 win over the Sens on Saturday, and is 10-3-0 with a 1.62 GAA and .940 save percentage this season. The real question will be who sits behind Talbot; hazardous weather conditions in the Northeast have reportedly made calling up someone from AHL Hartford more difficult than usual.

UPDATE: It’ll be David LeNeveu backing up tonight for New York.

As for the Isles, Kevin Poulin will get the start in goal.

Kuemper rides again

Rookie netminder Darcy Kuemper will make his fifth straight start for the Wild on Tuesday in Dallas.

Kuemper has been very good for Minnesota since his recall from AHL Iowa, going 4-1-0 with a 1.37 GAA and .954 save percentage. He’s also provided quality netminding with both Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding on the shelf, which has kept the Wild afloat in the Western Conference playoff chase.

The Stars have yet to announce their starter for this evening.


Panthers at Sabres: Ryan Miller going for Buffalo; Tim Thomas likely for Florida.

Kings at Blue Jackets: Columbus goes with Sergei Bobrovsky; Martin Jones likely for L.A.

Senators at Capitals: Craig Anderson vs. Braden Holtby

Blues at Devils: Brian Elliott vs. Cory Schneider

Leafs at Avalanche: Semyon Varlamov in for Colorado; James Reimer probable for Toronto.

Canucks at Oilers: Roberto Luongo vs. Ben Scrivens

Jets at Ducks: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Jonas Hiller

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.