Habs Goalie: Tokarski (W)
Opposition Goalie: Lundqvist, Talbot (L)
Habs goalscorers: Galchenyuk, Plekanec, Pacioretty, Bourque (3), Desharnais
Opposition goalscorers:Stepan (2), Nash, Kreider
Rene Bourque - Game PuckRene Bourque could maybe have had 10 goals this season, if I remember correctly. He could have had 5 tonight. I don't think anyone ever thought Pierre Gauthier was targeting a big game player when he sent Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque. I'm not sure Bourque knew. But that's what he'll be known as for a while now. Big in Tampa, around in Boston and now again tonight, Bourque is just showing up with a desire like we've never seen from him. And quietly in this series, he has now become the player that New York must find a way to manage. as he has 4 goals and 2 assists in 5 games and ran rampant in this one. This is vital for the Habs as they seek to overcome that first game has left them. Four lines that are starting to find their way. Bourque at the vanguard.
Dale WeiseAn outstanding game from the former Ranger draft pick.Every time he was on the ice, he was doing something important. The play he set for the Bourque gamewinner was the offensive awareness that has so often been missing -- hitting that important third man in. The play on the nerve-calming sixth goal was star quality passing. Was the most important play he was involved in the hit he never saw coming, however? It should serve for Raphael Diaz's conference final debut.
Therrien asked his whole team to show up for this game. Implied in this request is the players he goes back to again and again needed to respond to the trust they had been given. Plekanec is Therrien's most trusted forward, and he got the most minutes in this game tonight. His response was exemplary. That goal he scored was sublime in so many ways: in timing, in tipping the score, in unsettling the Rangers talismanic goalie. Not to mention it was beautiful skill. I' completely dismiss the penalty he took, even if the self-righteous CBC panel made a meal of it. If refs favour talking to players after punching a face on a face off (remember that guys?) then it was time here to simply not give a penalty and talk to Plekanec. That PP goal was the only Ranger effort with the man up, because Pleks was missing. Otherwise, the Rangers had an appalling 11:30 in PP killed off, and Pleks is down for 7 of those minutes.
Andrei MarkovThe General lived up to his name tonight. Three second assists paint his role as offensive. In reality, his biggest contributions were at the back. I can't recall the time when I last saw Markov throw s many into the boards and onto the floor, and he seemed to find something deep inside as he sees hi first chance of the deep playoff run that has not been common in his Canadiens tenure. Highlights often show his pinches hurting the team. I say his pinches in general are helping, and played a big role in getting the Canadiens the initiative in general in this contest.
PK SubbanPK set the tone for this game with his opening shift. Taken down for the first PP, he made little delay while finding that important first goal. He wasn't without fault through the game. Yet when the Canadiens were at their best, so was he. The PP is back (let's forget the confusing mandate of that last one) and his shots will be the topic of serious concern for the Rangers over the next two days. He played a big role in hitting the right players on the Rangers in this game and was sharper to respond in crisis at the back.
Dustin TokarskiI'm exercising some lenience on some old standards. Tokarski let in a bad goal to start the game, and was not at his best when his team was hoping to hold onto a three goal lead. But it was a strange game. He outplayed two Ranger goalies and put in one period for the ages to make sure the Rene Bourque goals held. Such has been his adoption into the fold that it's easy to forget this was his third playoff game and his 13th NHL game overall. He really plays like that doesn't matter to him. I don't think it should matter to us. He has a new big fan in Don Cherry.
CommentsThe lasting memory for me in this game was timing. The Habs somehow managed to find it impeccably when they needed it in this one. They needed their first goal and wasted only a few steps before setting the table for the successful PP. They needed to make that goal hold up, and Plekanec was there again scoring seconds after the cheesy effort by Stepan (in a mirror image kind of way). Lundqvist was chased because of quickness of strikes and Bourque's gamewinner I mentioned.Even the empty netter was perfectly timed for maximum effect.
Besides this, was this not the first game in which the Habs really outplayed the Rangers for long stretches? The team was getting all kinds of chances as their effort broke through the previously impermeable layer at the back. The threat from the opponent was always there, but perhaps this is a lingering memory of other games. In truth, the Habs only allowed 27 shots on goal. As a fan, I couldn't ask for more than this. My team responded with the passion we demanded. The delivery makes it sweeter.
Don't think the Rangers were stunned? How about Rick Nash in the second intermission then? He actually seemed to believe that the Habs had scored three PP goals to oust Lundqvist. None were on the PP, as the only second period PP for the Habs was still running over that intermission.
Do they have more in store for us? I shouldn't see why not. The fact of the matter is, this series has been on a knife's edge with a Game 1 anomaly. That anomaly still hurts the Habs, but it shouldn't preclude any effort they make on the win. If they play like this again, then I believe they made enough chances to threaten, and that's all they can really do. The three goal slip in the middle of the game won't come again, just as 7 goals on 25 shots won't be a recurrence. This team has some believers. More importantly this year, they have people that can follow the belief with action. The four forward lines will once again be a huge handful for an opposition coach to consider ahead of his video reviews.
The NHL makes a big mess for itself by allowing for variable interpretation of the rules don't they? Can anyone believe David Desharnais was called for roughing for bracing himself? They couldn't even maintain a simple standard within a game, as they seemed more intent on evening the penalty score for the whole series. While they talk a good game about reffing by situation, the penalty to cancel the 5:00 PP was strangely willed onto the scoresheet. I would feel a lot more comfortable if computers were officiating, because they wouldn't necessarily be considering all the other things about the game. It was a mess, and a shame they had to throw a wrench into the playoffs after so many consecutive games of letting them
Hopefully their office of player safety will behave more professionally and offer some consistency to the punishment they have doled out. IA search for hockeydb is bringing up Derek Dorsett tonight, as he bookended a game by spraying a child and headbutting Mike Weaver. John Moore was very late and dirty on a hit that we know merits 2 games (glad to see deterrents work).
As for the CBC, there is no explanation for them. Don Cherry has emerged as the biggest Canadiens supporter making the whole experience of watching very strange. I'm glad Jim "Elimination Game" Hughson was put right, and I am holding hope that PK Subban might get the chance for an on-ice interview with Ron MacLean so he can kiss him and then fall over (he goes down too easily, don't you know?).