The Montreal Canadiens live to play another game thanks to a hat trick, courtesy of Rene Bourque on Tuesday night.
The Canadiens defeated the Rangers 7-4 at home and now trail the series 3-2. Alex Galchenyuk started it all off with a powerplay goal less than two minutes into the game. Thomas Plekanec also scored in the first period to give the Canadiens an early 2-0 lead.
Max Pacioretty and Rene Bourque added goals in the second period, which saw the exit of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Cam Talbot came on in relief of Lundqvist half way through the second period.
At this point everything was going Montreal’s way. The fans were involved, cheerfully serenading Henrik Lundqvist off the ice fully expecting to win the game. But their songs were almost cut short when an unfortunate bounce off Montreal defencemen Josh Gorges gave the Rangers the spark they needed to get back in the game. Rick Nash was credited with the goal and Derek Stephan and Chris Kreider scored goals shortly after to tie the game at 4-4.
And all of a sudden, it was a brand new game and the once loud, boisterous crowd were silenced. When that tying goal went in, I thought for sure that the Rangers were going to complete the comeback and win the game. However, the Canadiens were able to overcome this horrendous collapse with a goal from Rene Bourque to regain the lead and Dustin Tokarski was able to hang on to get the win.
Tokarski stopped 23 shots on the night and didn’t seem shaken after conceding four quick goals in the second period. David Desharnais sealed the deal for the Canadiens with an empty net goal.
This was by far one of the strangest playoff games I’ve ever seen. This has been a series where exceptional goaltending has been the deciding factor in each game. I don’t think anyone expected to see Henrik Lundqvist exit the game early, nor did anyone expect Montreal to give up a three goal lead.
I’m glad I got to see plenty of goals, but I never expected to see 11 at the end of game five of an Eastern Conference finals. This victory could change everything.
This was a fantastic win for the Canadiens. They played some really exceptional desperate, hockey. Every offensive line contributed. Thomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty both scored goals. Veteran defencemen Andrea Markov tallied three assists on the night. Dale Wiese ended the game with two assists and even Thomas Vanek got an assist as well.
The Montreal Canadiens kept the plan simple, peppered the Rangers goalies with shots all night and were rewarded for their efforts. And even though Dustin Tokarski conceded those four goals, he still put on a solid performance in my opinion.
So now it’s up to the New York Rangers to respond. They still have the lead in the series and they're heading home. Plus if Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider can continue scoring goals, the Rangers may have a chance to close out the series at home. Kreider and Stepan ended game five with a combined total of six points and eight shots on goal.
This Rangers team will be angry and eager to respond after this loss and I’m sure Henrik Lundqvist will be ready for battle on Thursday in New York. I can’t wait to see if the Montreal Canadiens can build off the momentum from this blowout victory and force a game seven matchup on Thursday.
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