Another game. Another victory.
After a dominant win in Game 1 that saw the Rangers clicking on all cylinders, Game 2 provided more of the same.
Anchored by a third consecutive incredible performance by goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 40 of 41 shots en route to his fifth consecutive victory, the Rangers continued to look like a team possessed.
Max Pacioretty opened the scoring for the Canadiens, who scored their second fluky goal in as many games, but the Rangers quickly struck back, as Ryan McDonagh, who continues to haunt Montreal after they packaged him in a deal for Scott Gomez, scored on rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski, to even the score. McDonagh has now tallied 6 points in the first two games of the series, including his goal tonight.
Tokarski, who was forced into action after an injury to starting net minder Carey Price, fared well, turning aside 27 of 30 shots. A goal late in the first period to the resurgent Rick Nash that proved to be the deciding goal was one that arguably could have been saved. Nash, who was unable to find the back of the net on any of his first 52 shots during these playoffs, has now scored on 2 of his last 3 shots, albeit against Montreal’s second and third string goalies.
Martin St. Louis continued his incredible roll, scoring from one knee on a top-shelf snipe during a power play in the second period that put the proverbial nail in the Canadiens’ coffin. St. Louis has been a godsend since the Rangers acquired him in a mid-season trade for former captain Ryan Callahan, who is set to become a free agent at season’s end.
The Rangers will now head back to Madison Square Garden with two games in hand, looking to finish off the series as quickly as possible and get some much-needed rest. The game will take place on Thursday evening at 8pm on NBCSN.
The Rangers are really looking like a force to be reckoned with. If Nash, McDonagh and St. Louis continue their torrid paces, this team could soon be hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Chris Kreider, who’s collision with Carey Price has been a major point of contention, was a thorn in the side of P.K. Subban, one of Montreal’s best players. If he continues to take Subban out of these games, this will definitely be a quick series.
Dustin Tokarski, who spent the regular season in the AHL, performed admirably in relief of Price. Nothing says pressure quite like making a debut in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the fact of the matter is, you need to be perfect to beat Henrik Lundqvist right now, and Tokarski’s imperfections loomed large tonight. I still think Tokarski did enough to earn himself another start in Game 3.
The Rangers are a tough team to beat at the Garden, and Montreal’s chances are quickly beginning to diminish. I still like the Rangers in 5 in this series, but needless to say, Thursday is a make or break game for the Canadiens.