His first career Stanley Cup playoff victory came at the most important time in the Montreal Canadiens season.
Dustin Tokarski was the best player by a long shot for the Habs in their 3-2 overtime victory over the host New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday. The Canadiens are back in the series, trailing only 2-1. A loss and they would’ve been facing elimination.
The Canadiens are still in tough to win this series, especially without their star netminder Carey Price.
But Tokarski was called upon yet again and came up big, making 35 saves. He robbed Martin St. Louis with a sprawling glove save in the second period, and then denied St. Louis again with less than a minute remaining in regulation time and Montreal up by a goal. T
The Rangers tied it up just a few seconds later, on a pass out front that went off the skate of Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin. Hard to fault Tokarski on that one.
Overall, he was the difference. The Habs were outshot 37-25 on the evening.
“Dustin Tokarski was phenomenal tonight. He’s a battler and most importantly he’s a winner,” said Montreal’s head coach Michel Therrien, as per Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
“Without Tokarski’s performance, probably the result would have been different,” Therrien added.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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