Game three never seemed to end. We have had two (off) days to listen to the battle of emotions from both sides. As the Montreal Canadiens entire team and coaching staff tried to gain a psychological edge on our New York Rangers.
When the puck was dropped and the first period started it was all New York. The New York Rangers controlled the play at even strength but couldn’t catch a break from the referees as they were called for three minor penalties. The Rangers held a 53.6% advantage in Corsi events but there wasn’t much play at five on five. The New York Rangers penalty kill were the heroes as they killed off all three power plays against. Carl Hagelin got the New York Rangers up one with a short-handed goal at 7:16 of the first period. The New York Rangers had one Power Play opportunity but were unable to convert on their scoring chances and the first period ended with the New York Rangers up one to nothing.
Just like in game three though, they were unable to add to the lead and it cost them in the second period when Francis Bouillon took a snap shot and beat Henrik Lundqvist high glove side at 8:08. On the play Dan Girardi over-committed to the puck carrier Rene Bourque and left Marc Staal to cover a two on one giving the Montreal Canadiens defenseman plenty of room to whip a hard wrist shot over the New York Rangers Lundqvist. At this point game four is looking like game three all over again. Win the first period and lose the second period going back and forth trading chances until Dan Girardi comes up with a huge pass to make up for the mistake he made on the Montreal Canadiens goal to tie the game. Lundqvist played the puck on a dump and change for the opposition. He passed the puck to Girardi who lifted a pass to Derick Brassard to send the forward on a breakaway that he took no chances on. He wound up a slap shot and beat Dustin Tokarski over the shoulder. The goal came at 19:04 of the middle frame to give the New York Rangers a two to one lead after two periods.
The Rangers were called for five penalties in the first two periods combined and on the sixth penalty on the Montreal Canadiens tied the game up. Brian Boyle made an attempt at forcing a turnover at the blue line but was unable to clear and the puck went back in deep and then to the point on a tee for P.K. Subban. The goal came with traffic in front and tied the game again at two at 2:00 of the third period. Very tight game but the New York Rangers spent too much of the game short-handed. They were called for seven penalties in regulation and it hurt the Rangers in this game. Most of the calls were marginal at best. The Montreal Canadiens complaining must have worked because the referees called anything and everything in this game against the New York Rangers. Allowing the Montreal Canadiens to embellish like actors. They dropped and jumped at every stick that came up in the air but looked away at the Montreal Canadiens who were guilty of the same infractions. The two teams left the ice at the end of regulation tied at two.
The New York Rangers went into the overtime period with the last game on their mind and the same mantra from regulation. The eighth penalty of the game was called on Benoit Pouliot at 00:30 of the overtime stanza. This time as in six of seven before, the penalty kill got the job done. In game three the Montreal Canadiens were gassed, especially their defenseman. So in this game the more the overtime went on, the more the ice tilted in the New York Rangers favor. Just as in his earlier chances Martin St. Louis went high glove side on the Montreal Canadiens goaltender but this time he beat him. The goal in overtime gives the New York Rangers a three games to one lead in the series. It shows a ton of character in this team to not blow a game they scored first and held a lead after two frames in. They held on and stuck to the program. Big win for the team from Broadway. They didn’t allow all the subtle threats and cheap shots get to them even with eight penalties to kill off.