Dustin Tokarski

Video: Will Tokarski’s Game 3 effort rally Montreal?

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During today’s Edward Jones Face Time live online chat with Jeremy Roenick and Don La Greca, the question was asked — will Dustin Tokarski’s 35-save effort in Game 3’s win over the Rangers (at MSG, no less) provide a rallying point for the Montreal Canadiens?

Watch below to find out what the two pundits had to say:

Click here to watch previous installments of the Face Time initiative, including chats with Anson Carter and Larry Murphy.

Canadiens defeat Rangers in OT, trail in series 2-1

Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers - Game Three
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There were strange moments throughout Thursday’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, and that includes the overtime goal that has given the Habs renewed life in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Canadiens got back into the Eastern Conference Final with a stunning 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers to silence the boisterous crowd at Madison Square Garden. Alex Galchenyuk scored the winner, as the puck rebounded off New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist and seemed to hit the Montreal player off the chest, before it bounced into the net.

The goal came just 1:12 into the extra period.

From the NHL Situation Room Blog:

At 1:12 of overtime in the Montreal Canadiens/New York Rangers game, the Situation Room supported the referee’s call on the ice that the puck deflected off Alex Galchenyuk’s body and into the New York net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 78.4 “if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed.” Good goal Montreal.

The Habs now trail the best-of-seven series 2-1. For the Rangers, a win would’ve put them one away from clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years.

This game also featured a pair of incidents involving Brandon Prust and Daniel Carcillo that could result in supplementary discipline.

But standing in New York’s way of moving closer to the championship round on this night was 24-year-old goalie Dustin Tokarski, who was brilliant for the Habs. He made 35 saves, including a pair of sprawling stops off Martin St. Louis (click here to view the first one from the second period).

The Habs, outplayed throughout the evening, took a 2-1 lead late in the third period off a strange goal from Daniel Briere, who banked the puck in off a Rangers defender on a scramble around the net.

The Rangers tied it with 29 seconds left in regulation time, as a pass out front hit off the skate of Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin and past Tokarski.

Undeterred, the Canadiens ended this one quickly in the overtime, and ensure this series goes back to Montreal for a fifth game.

Therrien: Canadiens have had to defy expectations all season

Dustin Tokarski
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The Montreal Canadiens lost two straight home games against the New York Rangers to open the Eastern Conference Final. That in itself is problematic, but not a crippling hole to dig out of. The bigger problem is that goaltender Carey Price is out for the series.

Without their star netminder, not many people are betting on a Canadiens comeback, but Montreal coach Michel Therrien argued that puts the team in a very familiar position.

“When we started the season, there were a lot of people not even putting us in the playoffs. Or, if they wanted to be polite, they’d give us the eighth spot,” Therrien told the Toronto Sun.

“We caused a surprise to make the playoffs. We caused a surprise against the Tampa Bay Lightning to win in four, and we caused a bigger surprise to beat the Boston Bruins.”

Therrien asserted that his players believe in themselves though, even if that optimism is rare outside of their dressing room.

Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski wasn’t bad in Game 2 or the reason they lost that contest. The Canadiens can certainly win games with him. But can they win four of their next five contests against a Rangers team that’s clicking with Tokarski instead of Price?

Well, let’s put it this way: If they do, Therrien will be able to say that it was Montreal’s biggest surprise yet.

Road Warriors: Rangers win in Montreal, again, for 2-0 series lead

RangersWins
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The Eastern Conference final couldn’t have started much better for the New York Rangers.

For the Canadiens, it couldn’t have started much worse.

After getting blown out in the opener and losing Carey Price, the Canadiens failed to draw even with the Rangers on Monday night, dropping a 3-1 decision to fall behind 2-0 in the series while further frittering away their home-ice advantage.

The Rangers, meanwhile, proved once again to be a highly effective road team, winning their sixth away game of the postseason and fourth straight, dating back to Games 5 and 7 of the Pittsburgh series. Part of that success comes from the team’s red-hot power play, which on Monday scored for the seventh time in those four road wins.

Much like they were in Game 1 against Montreal, the Blueshirts were led by the quartet of Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist. McDonagh, who has been an absolute Habs killer in this series, had a goal an an assist, now giving him six points over the first two games; St. Louis and Nash both found the back of the net for the second straight contest — the fifth goal of the postseason for St. Louis, the second for Nash — while Lundqvist was his usual solid self, stopping 40 of 41 shots for his 10th win of the postseason.

In the other goal, the story wasn’t as good.

Dustin Tokarski, making his NHL playoff debut in place of the injured Carey Price, allowed three goals on 30 shots and didn’t look especially sharp, though he was hardly at fault for the loss. Montreal gave the inexperienced netminder just one goal of offense and have now beaten Lundqvist just three times on 63 shots.

Max Pacioretty scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, an unassisted marker early in the first period to briefly give his team a 1-0 lead. McDonagh evened the score 17 seconds later on another unassisted marker.

With the win, New York is now two wins away from its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1994; the Habs, meanwhile, will now try to become the 20th team in playoffs history to win a series when losing the first two games at home.

In order to achieve the feat, the Habs are going to have to win at least two games at MSG… which means they’ll need to conjure up some road magic of their own.

Get your game notes: Rangers at Canadiens

Brian Boyle Carey Price
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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Montreal Canadiens hosting the New York Rangers at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• When the Rangers scored seven goals in Game 1, it marked the first time in NHL history that a road team scored seven or more goals in Game 1 of a conference final or NHL semifinal series, and the 11th time overall. (Nine of the previous 10 winning sides went on to win their series.) It also marked only the second time that a road team won Game 1 of a conference final or NHL semifinal by five or more goals. (In 1950, Toronto defeated Detroit 5-0 in Game 1, but later lost the series in seven games.)

• For the Canadiens, it was the worst-ever margin of defeat (five goals) in a non-elimination playoff game at home. (They lost 8-2 in Game 6 vs. CAR in 2002, and 6-1 in Game 5 vs. OTT in 2013.) In the 14 previous best-of-seven series in which they lost Game 1 at home, the Habs have won seven series and lost seven series. Against the Rangers, they are 1-1 (they lost in six games in the 1974 NHL Quarterfinals and won in five games in the 1979 Stanley Cup Final).

• The Rangers have lost their last 13 playoff games which they entered with a lead in the series, the longest such streak in NHL history. The last time the Rangers won a game when they led in the series was in Game 4 of their first-round series against Washington in 2009 (they led the series, 2-1, then won Game 4, 2-1); the Rangers went on to lose that series in seven games. In the five series since then when they have held a lead at any point in the series, their series record is 4-1. The last time the Rangers took both Games 1 and 2 on the road was also that 2009 matchup against Washington.

• The Rangers lead all teams with 16 first-period goals this postseason and seven wins (7-1 record) when leading after the first period. They are also tied with Chicago (8-0) for the most wins when scoring first (8-2). Rangers winger Martin St. Louis has scored the game’s first goal an NHL-high three times this postseason, including twice in the last three games (Game 6 vs. PIT, Game 1 vs. MTL).

• Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who stopped 16 of 20 shots before leaving the game at the second intermission, is questionable (lower body) for Game 2. His backup, Peter Budaj, who allowed three power-play goals on eight shots in relief, has one career postseason start (the aforementioned 6-1 loss to OTT in 2013) and is winless in seven career postseason appearances (0-2, 5.10 GAA, .843 save%). However, he is unbeaten in two career regular-season starts for Montreal vs. the Rangers. This season, he shut them out on Oct. 28, 2013, stopping all 27 shots in a surprise start at MSG.

• In their last four games, the Rangers have outscored the Penguins (three games) and Canadiens (Game 1) by a combined 17-5. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has stopped 122 of the 127 shots he has faced during that span. After allowing 27 goals in their first 11 games of the postseason (2.45/game), the Rangers have now allowed 32 goals in 15 games (a playoff-low 2.13/game).

• Since Rangers winger Chris Kreider snapped his team’s 0-for-36 power-play drought in Game 5 vs. PIT, the Rangers are 6/18 (33.3%) with the man advantage. (Defenseman Ryan McDonagh has two of those goals.) In Game 1 vs. MTL, they went 3/7, scoring three PPG in a 3:08 span in the third period. It was the first time they scored three PPG in a playoff game since 2007 (Game 6 loss vs. BUF). Over the last six games, they have also gone 16/16 on the penalty kill.

• In Game 1, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban led his team in ice time (26:00) and tied for the team lead in shots on goal (three) and blocked shots (four), but had zero points. Subban, who leads all defensemen this postseason in scoring (4-8—12) has no points in his last three games, and only one (a power-play goal late in Game 5 vs. BOS) in his last five games.