Cam Talbot wasn’t tested often, yet the New York Rangers rookie turned aside everything the Nashville Predators threw at him.
The backup goalie made 17 saves to record his second consecutive shutout, and the Rangers beat the Predators 2-0 on Saturday night.
"I could get used to this," Talbot said.
Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan scored for the Rangers, who have won the first two games of a five-game road trip. Mats Zuccarello assisted on both goals for New York, which has won six consecutive road games.
Talbot got the start over resting No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist for the second straight Saturday night and didn’t let any pucks get past him. He has a shutout streak of 146 minutes, 28 seconds.
Nashville’s season-best, three-game winning streak was snapped.
McDonagh gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 13:13 of the second period.
From the center of the blue line, defenseman Dan Girardi sent a one-timer toward the Nashville net. In the slot, McDonagh tipped the puck past goalie Marek Mazanec for his fifth goal of the season.
"G had a lot of time. I knew he was going to get a puck going to the net," McDonagh said. "We’ve talked about getting deflections and dirty goals, and I just happened to be in the right spot there. It was a great shot."
Girardi has an assist in consecutive games.
"They played a little bit better and won a few more battles," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I give them some credit, and we have to be better than we were tonight or we are not going to beat a team that plays as well as they do."
Stepan doubled New York’s lead at 7:45 of the third.
Skating down the left side on a 2-on-1, Zuccarello slid a pass to Stepan on the right side, where he put the puck past the diving Mazanec for his fifth goal.
"Our guys were focused and ready right from the start, and they executed really well," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They managed the puck well and obviously we didn’t give Nashville a whole lot as far as scoring opportunities.
"We were able to generate quite a few and score two goals."
Talbot, in his first game since recording his first NHL shutout on Nov. 16 at Montreal, made five saves in the first period, seven in the second, and five in the third to improve to 5-1 this season.
Talbot played collegiate hockey at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, which is just 100 miles south of Nashville.
"It’s nice to be back down south, I’ve always loved it down here," Talbot said. "It was fun to get the start down here."
Nashville hit the goal post twice late in the third period, one off of the stick of captain Shea Weber, and the other Matt Cullen’s deflection of Weber’s shot.
"I’ve got to find a way to get those in and keep getting pucks to the front of the net," Weber said. "We had good traffic on a couple of them, but we weren’t able to sink them."
Mazanec made 32 saves in the loss.
Nashville lost right wing Patric Hornqvist in the first period to an upper-body injury. He played just four shifts in the first period, with his final one ending at 13:06.
Hornqvist entered Saturday tied for the Nashville lead with six goals.
NOTES: Nashville LW Eric Nystrom returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. … The Rangers are 94-0-6 in their last 100 regular-season games in which they led after two periods. … New York has won four straight in Nashville.