The Montreal Canadians looked to bounce back from their humiliating 7-2, game one loss against the Rangers in the pair's NHL playoff contest Monday night.
But the task would prove to be quite a challenge without the aid of their starting goaltender Carey Price as the Rangers won out 3-1.
Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk did at least return to the lineup in game two, hoping to give his team a much needed boost.
The Canadians got off to a good start with a goal from Max Pacioretty early in the first period. However, an unfortunate deflection off Montreal defencemen Josh Gorges ended up eluding Montreal’s Dustin Tokarski just seconds after Montreal’s goal. Ranger’s defencemen Ryan Mcdonagh was credited with the tying goal.
Soon after, Rick Nash scored just his second of the playoffs late in the first period to give the Rangers the lead in the game.
Veteran Martin St. Louis added another with a powerplay goal in the second period and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist did the rest to keep out the Habs.
The 32 year old net minder put on a stunning display, stopping 40 shots on the night, including two shots from Montreal’s Rene Bourque in close. He also stopped Max Pacioretty’s one-timer and held off a barrage of shots late in the game to claim the victory.
With the win, the Rangers head back home to New York with a 2-0 lead and the road victory was a fantastic result. They had the momentum heading into game two and were able to keep it going whilst stealing another win on the road.
Plus with Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash continuing to score I believe if these guys can continue this rhythm at home, the Rangers may be able to win game three and take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
For the Montreal Canadians, everything seems to be falling apart. The team is clearly still in shock over losing starting goaltender Carey Price for the rest of the series.
Rookie Dustin Tokarski did keep his team in the game, stopping 27 shots on the night but a questionable penalty allowed the Rangers to put the game out of reach.
PK Subban, Max Paciorrety and Brendan Gallagher peppered Lundqvist with shots all night long, but unfortunately for them they could only beat him once. Overall, it was a very frustrating night for the Montreal Canadians. The Galchenyuk penalty has been perceived as a weak call by many and it only added to the frustration of the home side.
It would be wrong to say that call was the deciding factor in the game however. The Montreal Canadians just didn’t have an answer for the exceptional play of Henrik Lundqvist.
Now Montreal just has to forget about everything that’s happened and try and find a way to beat Lundqvist. If they continue to put traffic in front of him, they will start scoring goals.
Regardless of any strategy, Montreal must win game three to build hope of staying alive in the series.
I can’t wait to see if some desperation style hockey will give the Montreal Canadians the boost they need to get back in this series.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU