Habs Get “Lucky,” Win in Overtime

montrealgazette.com

montrealgazette.com

The New York Rangers came into tonight’s game with a chance to take a stranglehold of this series. Taking a 3-0 series lead on the team that beat the Boston Bruins in 7 would’ve been tremendous.

The Rangers came out focused in this game, as both teams were transitioning well early on.  NY outshot the Canadiens 14-4 in the 1st period and carried play.  The Rangers seemed to get going emotionally after former Ranger, Brandon Prust delivered a late hit on Derek Stepan that looked like it warranted a penalty.  New York Rangers’ center, Brad Richards told reporters “I don’t think they(referees) saw it.”  Clearly the hit was not detected by the officials.

In the aftermath of the hit, an ugly incident occurred involving Dan Carcillo and a linesman. Derek Dorsett was fighting Brandon Prust for his hit when inexplicably the linesman, Scott Driscoll manhandled him. Carcillo was called for a penalty for charging Prust just before the fight, but there is no reason for a linesman to grab a player in that manner in the heat of a game. Regardless, Carcillo failed to maintain his cool and may be suspended up to 20 games. the severity to be determined by Driscoll.

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The Blueshirts came in waves, and finally broke through with just under five minutes left in the 1st period.  Carl Hagelin, rushed up the ice after Habs’ defenseman, P.K. Subban couldn’t control the puck, Hagelin was joined by Martin St.Louis up the ice for a 2 on 1.  Hagelin waited out the sprawling defenseman, and dished the puck to St. Louis who rang the puck off the crossbar, but the puck came back down, and was batted in by Hagelin for a 1-0 lead.

The Habs would get on the board shortly into the 2nd period, when Montreal defensman, Andrei Markov whips a low shot passed Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game.  The Rangers had 13 shots in the 2nd, and the Habs had 9, but the score would remain 1-1.

The 3rd period was arguably the most evenly played period of the entire series.  Both teams were getting chances, and still, transitioning well through the neutral zone.  Both goalies were making high-quality saves to keep this game even at 1.

The Canadiens would take the lead with just under four minutes to go, when playoff guru, Daniel Briere put one off the skate of Ryan McDonagh that slid passed Henrik Lundqvist.  The Rangers weren’t going down though.  With Lundqvist pulled, the Rangers were on the attack for a minute and a half in the Canadiens’ zone.

Finally, Chris Kreider would redirect a shot past Dustin Tokarski with 29 seconds remaining.  Kreider deflected a pass that hit the skate of Habs’ defensman, Alexei Emelin, and behind Tokarski.  I had tweeted earlier in the game that this tilt wreaked of overtime, and a hero would be crowned.

At 1:12 into overtime, Alex Galchenyuk scored the game winner off of his upper body.  Tomas Plekanec threw the puck at the net, and it hit off Galchenyuk, and rolled in.  Hockey is often a game of bounces, and they seemed to go the Canadiens’ way tonight.  The Rangers did not play a bad game, they just needed to finish their chances.  There were a handful of opportunities that the Rangers had that simply missed the net.  Those chances will haunt you against good teams, and that is what happened in game 3.

The Rangers and Habs are back at it on Sunday night at MSG.  The Rangers need to play desperate hockey, they definitely don’t want to head to Montreal tied 2-2.

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