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

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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.

Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.