Save for an actual elimination game, Game 3 was as close to a "must-win"
situation as it gets. After losing their starting goaltender as well as
the first two games in the series, the Montreal Canadiens desperately needed a
win to stymie the New York Rangers’ momentum and get back into the series. It
didn’t come easy, and after victory was snatched away from the Habs in the dying
seconds of regulation, a 3-0 series deficit was in the minds of all Montreal
fans. But a quick goal in overtime gave Montreal a 3-2 victory, and
breathed new life into the series, with the Rangers holding a 2-1 edge.
Despite some line-juggling, coach Michel Therrien opted to keep the same
roster from Game 2. The first period started with the same speed we have
seen from these two teams all series long. A late hit by Brandon Prust on
Derek Stepan elevated the intensity to a new level, and you could tell that both
teams were developing some new, hateful emotions toward each other. This
resulted in Dan Carcillo hitting Prust from behind and being ejected from the
game after he struck a linesman. Prust and Derek Dorsett also tussled
after the same play, and the visitor’s victory further antagonized the home
crowd. But it was Carl Hagelin that opened the scoring for the Rangers,
and they carried a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes, outshooting the
The second period continued in a similar fashion; the Rangers were first to
every puck and bottled up the Canadiens in their own zone for extended
stretches. Nevertheless, it was Andrei Markov that scored the next goal,
when a quick release fooled Henrik Lundqvist after a great pass from Max
Pacioretty. The goal seemed to wake the Canadiens up a little bit, and
they began to trade chances with New York, despite being unable to sustain any
pressure in the offensive zone. But Brendan Gallagher was the victim of
two marginal penalty calls, and with the second coming with 2 seconds left in
the middle stanza, the stage was set for the beginning of the third period.
Although the Canadiens managed to kill off the early powerplay, the Ranger
proceeded to treat much of the period like an extended man-advantage situation.
The Habs barely got a sniff of the Rangers’ net, and the Rangers essentially set
up shop in the Montreal zone. If not for some sharp play from Dustin
Tokarski, this game could have been over early and emphatically. As the period
continued, the Canadiens began to create some chances, and for the first time
all night, it was Lundqvist that was forced to make consecutive saves. But
after a dominating Ranger shift, it was the fourth line contributing as Danny
Briere banked in a goal from behind the Ranger net. Sadly, the victory was
short-lived as Chris Kreider replied with his own bank-shot off Alexei Emelin to
tie up the game in the final minute. Fortunately for those with heart
conditions, overtime didn’t take long (1:12), as Tomas Plekanec directed a puck
toward the net that went off Alex Galchenyuk and in for his first playoff
First Star: Dustin Tokarski
It is hard to imagine that Carey Price would have fared any better in this
game, and Tokarski made 35 saves to keep his team in this game. Tokarski
couldn’t be faulted for the two goals, and his highlight-reel saves on Marty St.
Louis were worth the price of admission.
Second Star: Brendan Gallagher
Gallagher is often credited for playing playoff hockey in the regular season,
but he has found another gear in the playoffs to go to. Seemingly abused
by Ryan McDonagh on every shift, Gallagher dug in and never quit even though
that may have been the most rational, sane thing to do.
Third Star: Max Pacioretty
Pacioretty seemed to be one of the few forwards that got the memo to go to
the net. Playing with more physicality than we’re accustomed to seeing,
Pacioretty created a significant portion of Montreal’s chances and earned an
assist on a beautiful pass to Andrei Markov.
HM: David Desharnais
Desharnais’ points have dried up (as have those for essentially all of the
Habs) but his hard work was evident throughout the game. Playing on the
road, he faced the unenviable task of matching off against New York’s top
pairing, and still managed to manufacture offensive chances. Desharnais
was especially proficient in the face-off circle, and went 18 for 26 on the