May 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski makes a save against the New York Rangers during the second period in game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Tokarski Steals Game Three From the Rangers

After a two day break, game three of the Eastern Conference Finals resumed Thursday evening, with the series focused on the bright lights of Madison Square Garden in New York City. Entering the game, the Rangers swept the first two games on Montreal’s ice. Now, the team returns home needing only two more games to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens. However, the team from the North had other plans in mind. The Canadiens looked to solve the mystery of Henrik Lundqvist and get back into the series.

The talk ended at puck drop, and both teams used their skating abilities to prove who the better team was tonight.

To open the game, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault put the first line of Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Chris Kreider on the ice for the opening faceoff. The Rangers’ top defense pairing of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi handled the traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist.

As the game started the MSG crowd was made their presence known. The Let’s Go Rangers chants ringed through the arena.

Canadiens’ Max Pacierotty took the first shot of the game on Henrik Lundqvist, after getting around Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.

The Rangers had their first shot within two minutes of the period by Dan Carcillo’s tip, stopped by Dustin Tokarski.

Play was halted after Derek Stepan was seen on the ice. Canadiens forward Brandon Prust blindsided Stepan at the far boards. After video replay, the crowd at MSG could be heard groaning. Derek Stepan was seen leaving towards the dressing room.

For the first four and half minutes, the boys in blue seemed to be out hustling the Canadiens to every loose puck.

A delayed penalty on Dan Carcillo came from a cross check on Brandon Prust, in possible retaliation for Prust’s hit on Derek Stepan. Additionally, he received a game misconduct and was seen heading to the dressing room. Replay showed that Carcillo elbowed a referee while being escorted to the penalty box. Derek Dorsett and Prust got into a tussel after the hit and both served five minutes. As a result, the Canadiens had the first power play of the game. Fortunately, no goals were surrendered, as the Rangers penalty kill held their ground.

Both teams were returned to even strength.

As the game returned from a commercial break, a welcomed sight of Derek Stepan returning to the Rangers bench was seen.

Henrik Lundqvist, though not as busy as the young Canadiens’ goalie has been through the first period, showed no rust as he stopped a one-timer by Max Pacierotty, moving post to post.

The first goal of the game was scored by the Rangers Carl Hagelin. After pushing the puck up ice off a turnover by PK Subban, Hagelin and Martin St. Louis charged in on a two on one. He slowed up, dished to St. Louis, where he where his shot was blocked by the Canadiens’ Josh Gorges. The puck was deflected upwards and came back down, where Hagelin avoided a bunting the puck in with a high stick. He timed perfectly, as he batted it in over the sprawling Canadiens. Martin St. Louis was credited with the assist. The score was 1-0, Rangers.

The period ended with the Rangers outplaying the Canadiens. Shots for the period were in favor of the Rangers, 14 to the Canadiens’ four, as well as the level of intensity.

As the second period started, Montreal needed to come out with a better effort than the previous period. For the Rangers, they needed to remain composed and not let the emotions of the game take over causing them to do unnecessary actions away from the puck.

As the second period started, Montreal needed to come out with a better effort than the previous period. For the Rangers, they needed to remain composed and not let the emotions of the game take over causing them to do unnecessary actions away from the puck.

At 16:39, the Canadiens got on the scoreboard. Andrei Markov ripped a wrist shot to the near post, beating Henrik Lundqvist’s glove. Assists were credited to Max Pacierotty and Brendan Gallagher. The game was tied 1-1.

After that goal, the play of the Canadiens appeared to pick up. Their play in both the offensive and defensive zones got a little bit of a boost.

A wrap around attempt by Mats Zuccarello was stamped out by Dustin Tokarski. Through one an half periods, he played the game with the calmness of a veteran goaltender. He seemed unphased by the Madison Square Garden atmosphere. For his first playoff appearance this series, he has stood his ground.

A delayed penalty was called on Derek Stepan for hooking. As a result, the Canadiens had their second power play of the game. Again, no goals were given up by the Rangers penalty kill units, and both teams were back to even strength.

A delayed penalty was called on Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher for cross-checking Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers’ power play finally got to ice time. Unfortunately, the Canadiens were able to defend their goal against the Rangers’ man-advantage. No goals were given up.

Another penalty was called on Brendan Gallagher for roughing on Ryan McDonagh. A missed call on Ryan McDonagh for slashing was seen before Gallagher’s infraction on the NBCSN broadcast. With 1.7 seconds, the Rangers found themselves on their second power play.

The period ended with the ice, balanced thanks to the efforts of the Canadiens. Despite being outshot 13 to nine, the Canadiens gained confidence from their young goaltender, who seemed to play above his years.

With 20 minutes left, the Rangers needed to solve the riddle that was Dustin Tokarski. For the game, he did not shy away from the spotlight in game three.

The Rangers opened up the period with a power play, carried over from the end of the second period. Lots of puck movement, but no goals were had. Both teams returned to even strength.

Both teams knew the importance of this period.

Ryan McDonagh stopped a break out opportunity on the Canadiens Brendan Gallagher. He was able to poke the puck off Gallagher’s stick and an opportunity was avoided.

After the minute mark of the period, both teams finished their checks, spurned on by the peskiness of Brandon Prust. For the game, he was proud to throw his weight around.

After some great hockey action on both ends of the ice, the Canadiens started putting pressure in the offensive zone. The Rangers were caught playing on their heels. A missed scoring opportunity by Dale Weise in front of Henrik Lundqvist

With 3:02 left, the Canadiens broke the tie by former Philadelphia Flyer, Daniel Briere. Replay showed that the puck went off Ryan McDonagh’s skate. However, the Canandiens made it possible by the consecutive shots from Rene Bourque and Tomas Vanek.

With 1:31 left in the game, the Rangers pulled the Henrik Lunddvist in favor of the six on five, leaving an empty net.

Karma made an appearance, as time expired.

With :28.1 seconds left in the period, just when you thought Tokarski and the Montreal Canadiens would steal the game, the budding star Chris Kreider said not yet. He deflected a shot from Ryan McDonagh against the boards, that found the back of the net. As the puck came off Kreider’s stick, it bounced off the right skate of Canadien defenseman Alexi Emelin. Assists were credited to Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. The game became tied 2-2 and we headed to overtime.

As both teams took to the ice, it was sudden death. First team to score, won. Which team would break through and grab game three?

Within the first minute and half of overtime, the Montreal Canadiens scored off Alex Galchenyuk body. Tomas Plekanec, who was credited with the primary assist, put a shot on goal against Henrik Lundqvist. He turned the shot away, while Galchenyuk was charging towards the net and had the puck bounce high off his body. The secondary assist was credited to Brian Gionta.

After a game of back and forth action, the Canadiens prevailed over the Rangers with a 3-2 final. Montreal was able to get a game back, making the series 2-1 Rangers in the Easter Conference Finals.

Next game will be on Sunday at 8:00 pm EST.

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Tags: Carl Hagelin Chris Kreider Max Pacioretty New York Rangers

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