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Toppled by Tokarski: Rookie Tender Comes up Big as New York Rangers Fall to Habs in OT

May 23rd, 2014 at 3:40 AM
By Ricky Cibrano

"Dustin who?" Would've been the answer you received had you asked even the most well-informed hockey fans who Dustin Tokarski was seven days ago. A week later, and the rookie netminder still may not be a household name, but you can bet they'll be singing his name from the rafters in Montreal tonight. 

Tokarski, making his second career playoff start — and first on the road — turned aside 35 shots as his Montreal Canadians beat the Rangers 3-2 in overtime, preventing the Blueshirts from seizing a 3-0 vice grip on the series. The two teams traded fortunate bounces throughout — Chris Kreider's game-tyer in the waning moments deflected in off Alexei Emelin's skate, while Danny Briere's go-ahead goal minutes before was inadvertently swept in by Ryan McDonagh — but the final bounce belonged to Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, who just happened to be cruising past the net when Henrik Lundqvist steered a rebound seemingly towards the glass…but instead struck the Habs forward and deflected into the net.

  • Strange game. The only goal of the five scored that would be described as "normal" was Andrei Markov's tally. Carl Hagelin's opening salvo was anything but ordinary, and the rest were a calamity of odd bounces and unfortunate luck.
  • Show of hands: Anyone still miss Brandon Prust? The former Rangers assault of Derek Stepan somehow went undetected by officials, but should — emphasis on should in no way meaning will — result in supplementary discipline. The hit was high, and it was late, but considering it went unpenalized, a lengthy suspension is likely out of the question, as it would seriously show up referee's Kevin Pollock and Wes McCauley, who missed it.
  • As for Dan Carcillo, he could be suspended ten games for striking an official, and if he isn't, he should thank his lucky stars. Carcillo recklessly swung his elbow and made contact with the linesman, and that — whether it's intentional or not — is a no-no. Provided Derick Brassard is ready to go in game 4, the potential loss of Carcillo isn't the end of the world.
  • The Rangers in no way played poorly in this game, and the loss shouldn't set off alarm bells just yet. The Blueshirts are a team that periodically struggles to score — regardless of who's in net — so this turn of events shouldn't come as a total shock after they exploded for ten goals in the first two games of the series. That being said, give Tokarski credit — he made some big-time saves — especially the two cases of larceny on Martin St. Louis. However, he did spit out some juicy rebounds that were there for the taking, but the Rangers failed to reach in time.
  • Now in game 4, the Rangers will need to show something they've lack thus far — killer instinct — or else run the risk of seeing their 2-0 series lead evaporate entirely.
Tags: Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Markov, Brandon Prust, Chris Kreider, Dan Carcillo, Derek Stepan, Dustin Tokarski, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, Martin St. Louis, Montreal Canadians, New York, New York Rangers, NHL, Ryan McDonagh

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