Cam Talbot wasn't expecting to play Saturday after starting the day before when the Wild began the season.
But a text message Friday night told the goaltender he'd be back in net and by the end of the weekend's West Coast road trip, he and the Wild were 2-0.
"If I'm in a rhythm, just stay in that rhythm," Talbot said. "That's always nice to keep it going on a back-to-back."
Despite getting less work in during training camp than anticipated, Talbot was sharp in his return to the crease where he'll backstop the Wild for his second season as the team's go-to goalie.
"I worked my butt off in practice and made sure that I was ready for the drop of the puck," said Talbot, who was back between the pipes Tuesday for the Wild's home opener against the Jets at Xcel Energy Center. "Once the season starts, it counts. The guys need to be able to count on me, so I did everything I could to make myself ready and be as prepared as possible."
After playing half a game in his preseason debut, Talbot logged only one more game in camp — a 3-2 overtime victory against the Blackhawks on Oct. 7 in which Talbot made 27 saves.
He was supposed to play another time, in the team's last exhibition tuneup at Chicago on Oct. 9, but the 34-year-old was sidelined because of a personal matter.
"If I'm being honest, I wanted that last game in Chicago," Talbot said. "Obviously, circumstances wouldn't allow me to do that. So, only 90 minutes in the preseason wasn't exactly what I had planned."
Still, the diminished prep time didn't affect the netminder's effectiveness.
In the 2-1 win over Anaheim and the 3-2 victory at Los Angeles, Talbot stopped a combined 57 pucks on 60 shots.
"I can't say enough about the guys in front of me and the way that they played," said Talbot, who signed a three-year, $11 million contract last October. "The structure and the composure and stuff like that just makes my job that much easier."
Although the color palette hasn't changed, Talbot is wearing a new mask this season.
The lid still has a nod to the movie "Ghostbusters," which has been Talbot's calling card since his first stint in the NHL with the Rangers, and it includes the initials of his children on the back.
"I'm not a creative guy myself, so I just give [artist Dave Gunnarsson] the license to do whatever he wants," Talbot said. "He'll send me a sketch and I'll just be like, 'Sure. Go with it.'"
But Talbot has some ideas for what he'll wear for the Winter Classic against the Blues at Target Field on Jan. 1.
"This one I'm going to have a little more say in," he said.
The Wild stuck with the same lineup for its home opener that jumped out to a 2-0 start, meaning defenseman Jordie Benn and forward Rem Pitlick are still waiting to make their season debuts.
Benn signed in the offseason as a free agent, while the Wild picked up former Gopher Pitlick off waivers near the end of training camp.
"You'd like to get everybody in," coach Dean Evason said. "You don't want people sitting for too long. Rem's in a tough spot, coming in, played that one [preseason] game. Tough for us to see him get a real great evaluation. But he's done all the right things, same as Jordie, all the right things. Says all the right things.
"They both get it, where we're at, and you'd love to get them in. But they'll be ready, and we're going to need everybody. So, they'll be ready to play when called upon."
Before puck drop, the Wild honored Tom Kurvers, who died in June because of cancer.
He was 58.
Kurvers was the assistant general manager for the Wild and a Hobey Baker Award winner in 1984 with Minnesota Duluth as college hockey's top player. He also played for Bloomington Jefferson before suiting up for 11 seasons in the NHL.