Habs trust Tokarski despite lack of Stanley Cup playoff experience

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The Montreal Canadiens don’t have Carey Price. You already knew that. They’ll go back to 24-year-old Dustin Tokarski in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers. You already knew that, too.

As the Habs suddenly trail 2-0 in the series – the winner earns a berth in the Stanley Cup Final – it appears they’re going to lean on a goalie with now only one post-season game in his National Hockey League career. Do they even have a choice now at this point? (You can have your say in the matter by clicking here.)

In Game 3, Tokarski wasn’t at all bad. New York’s first goal came off a deflection just in front of the Montreal net, and its third goal was a laser shot in the slot from Martin St. Louis. Likely the only goal he would really want back was off the stick of Rick Nash, who fired his one-time shot almost right back into the left arm and chest of Tokarski, who got a piece of the puck but not enough.

It’s indeed a tough spot for Tokarski to be in – in addition to one Stanley Cup post-season start, he’s only played in 10 regular season games in the NHL. But his teammates in Montreal are lending their support behind Tokarski, as the Habs look to somehow get back in this series minus their No. 1 goalie, and one of the best goalies in the entire league.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been through a situation like that, but the kid did well. He’s been skating with the Black Aces for most of the playoffs and he does a job like that,” Habs forward Brandon Prust told reporters.

“That’s why you see they have a lot of trust in him. Even though we don’t know him too well, the organization and the goalie have a lot of trust in him.”

This fight between Tom Wilson, Chris Stewart got downright gory (Video)

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For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.

Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.

Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.

Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.

Milestones: Matthews, Nylander break Leafs rookie records; Chara hits 600

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Auston Matthews likely ranks as the top reason that many Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get the same feelings they had in better times, so it only makes sense that he broke a beloved Buds’ record on Tuesday.

With his 35th goal of a potential Calder season – but a brilliant debut either way – Matthews passed Wendel Clark for the Maple Leafs’ rookie record for goals in a season.

That goal was also meaningful for William Nylander, as he extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. This team, fueled by young players, just keeps shattering first-year marks:

Switching gears, let’s go from new to (relatively) old: Zdeno Chara collected the 600th point of his outstanding career with an assist:

Yes, it’s true that most people think of his imposing size and all-world defensive instincts in praising Chara, but he’s been a respectable point producer, too.

U.S. women end boycott, will represent USA Hockey at worlds

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The U.S. women’s national team voted in favor of accepting USA Hockey’s deal, so they’ll participate in the world championship tournament. USA Hockey recently made the news official with this press release.

The press release confirmed a report that the contract will last four years, while financial terms were kept confidential. (Team members had been seeking a living wage to represent USA Hockey.)

“Our sport is the big winner today,” Team captain Meghan Duggan said. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”

The U.S. women’s national team is scheduled to face Canada on Friday.

Here’s a screen cap of the press release for your convenience:

Logan Couture can at least speak and eat following horrifying mouth injury

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As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.

Much like Eddie Lack “only” dealing with a neck sprain, it’s strange to be heartened to hear that Logan Couture can speak and eat after his own painful ordeal, but that’s the positive update from the Mercury News on Tuesday.

Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.

“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.

To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.

As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.

PHT discussed his trip to the dentist on Monday.

More mouth pain: When David Backes felt like his face was falling off.