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Category: Playoffs

Quick notes: Prust hit, Carcillo ejection

Update 2: Prust got two games.

Update: Brandon Prust has a phone hearing at 4pm today regarding this hit.

I didn’t cover this in the goal breakdown, mostly because I wanted to discuss it in a separate post, but there were two separate incidents that sparked emotions in the first period of last night’s loss. The first was the hit delivered by Brandon Prust on Derek Stepan:

The hit is late, with the initial point of contact at the high chest/head area. It wasn’t an elbow though. It’s the first time I can call a hit from Prust dirty, because he simply doesn’t have the reputation for it. So don’t expect a suspension, especially since Stepan returned. Maybe a fine. Maybe.

Then there was the Dan Carcillo incident, where he bumped a linesman a few times. Regardless of the emotions at the time, or the aggressiveness of the linesman, that’s inexcusable. You can’t bump a zebra, period. He’s going to get suspended.

Series far from over: Galchenyuk’s face wins it in overtime

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Alex Galchenyuk took a puck off the face in overtime to win the game for the Habs, drawing them closer to a series tie with the Rangers. Galchenyuk crashed the net on Tomas Plekanec’s shot, and the ensuing rebound went off his face and into the net for the overtime winner. This came minutes into overtime, just after the Rangers tied the game dramatically with a goal in the final 30 seconds of the game.

Dustin Tokarski was phenomenal in the game, stopping 35 of 37 shots and truly preventing the Rangers from breaking the game open in the first period. He also appeared to have MSL’s number, stopping him with numerous glove saves at point-blank range. Hank stole Game Two for the Rangers, and Tokarski stole Game Three.

On to the goals:

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Eastern Conference Finals Game 3: Put the Habs on the brink

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Rangers have a two-game lead in a playoff series, and enter tonight with a chance to put the Habs on sweep watch. The Blueshirts dominated Game One, and Hank stole Game Two. Now the good guys are home for Games Three and Four and a chance to put the series away early.

Although the Habs are without Price, they are still a deep and skilled team with solid defensemen. They are built just like the Rangers. Suit wrote a preview of the series, and you should definitely be reading that. Justin also scouted out Carey Price, but that’s relatively useless now (Sorry Justin!). This is the time to take a stranglehold on the series.

Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):

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These aren’t your 2012 Rangers

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

It seems like yesterday that the Rangers were running away with the Atlantic Division, securing home ice advantage throughout the playoffs in the process. This was just two seasons ago, and the Black and Blueshirts built a reputation for making lives difficult on opponents. They had a relentless two-man forecheck. They hit everything that moved. They blocked every shot on net. They had stellar goaltending. But they fell short, didn’t even make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

You’ve heard the rumblings: That team was overachieving. After all, they weren’t even a 50% possession team and they were well above league-average for PDO (basically puck luck). It was a team that dressed Mike Rupp and Stu Bickel on a regular basis. It was a team that saw the bottom line and bottom pairing be lucky to get eight minutes a night. They were a flawed team. Easy to love, but flawed.

Fast forward two years, and we have a very similar situation. The Rangers are in the Eastern Conference Finals facing an opponent that is a perceived underdog (Vegas had the Habs as a favorite, but pretty much everyone who follows hockey had the Rangers as the favorite). The fans can taste the Cup Finals. But these are not your 2012 Rangers.

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Tokarski to start Game Three

Michel Therrien has announced that Dustin Tokarski, who stopped 27 of 30 shots in Game Two, will get the nod in Game Three at MSG. Tokarski allowed a flukey deflection goal, a one-timer PPG goal that he didn’t see, and a questionable (some say weak, some don’t) goal in the 3-1 loss on Monday night. The other options for Montreal are backup Peter Budaj and AHL goalie –and former Oiler goalie– Devan Dubnyk.

It looks like Alain Vigneault did a pretty good job managing Henrik Lundqvist this year

Lundqvist has been in the top-six for games played by a goalie in all but one of the last eight seasons

Though much has changed with the New York Rangers over the last 12 months, one thing remains the same: the team goes as Henrik Lundqvist goes. 

During the early part of the season when the Blueshirts were regularly getting crushed by Western Conference foes, The King was not himself. And not coincidentally, during the second half of the year when the club came together, Lundqvist returned to his usual Vezina form. Now Lundqvist has raised his game again, to an otherworldly level that no other netminder alive can approach, and suddenly the team is on the cusp of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Lundqvist’s talent, focus and desire are obviously keys to his success and have never been in question. But how much of his recent run is due to coach Alain Vigneault’s insistence on giving his backups – first Martin Biron, then Cam Talbot – a larger workload this season?

Lundqvist has shouldered an absurdly high workload in recent years, especially now that he’s no longer a young pup. Including playoffs, he’s started 597 games and logged 32,945 minutes over the last eight seasons and has finished in the top-six in games played for a goalie in all but one of those years. (Lundqvist played a staggering 3,331 minutes in the condensed lockout-shortened season, and played 5,005, 4,353, 4,204, 4,533, 4,913, 4,746 minutes in his previous six seasons, respectively).

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Rangers finally win a Game Two, come home with 2-0 lead

Two games, two goals for Nash. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

Two games, two goals for Nash. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The streak has been snapped. Our long wait is over. The Rangers have finally won a Game Two after winning a Game One. It seems like the last time this happened was in 1927 (was more like 2007 or so), and the “streak” was really no more than sheer coincidence, but hey, they won. And the best part is that they are coming home with a 2-0 lead against a team whose house has been a house of horrors for so long. Sure, Dustin Tokarski isn’t Carey Price, but this was more about the Rangers again using speed and depth to torment the Habs.

Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal again, stopping 40 of 41 shots that the Habs threw on him. The one goal he let up was more of a fluke, which now makes two fluke goals and a seven-man goal for the Habs. The big guns (Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, and Ryan McDonagh) all scored huge goals for the club, while Derek Stepan added a pair of assists. Another complete team win. Apologies in advance that there are no pictures for this goal breakdown, but it’s late and it’s been a long day.

On to the goals.

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Eastern Conference Finals Game Two: Build on the lead

Ryan Remiorz / Canadian Press

Ryan Remiorz / Canadian Press

It’s amazing how quickly one game changes the perception of a series. This was supposed to be a low-scoring series and a battle of the goaltenders. Instead, the game ended 7-2 and Carey Price is done for the series. Dustin Tokarski will likely get the start in net, which is a significant downgrade from Price.

Although the Habs are without Price, they are still a deep and skilled team with solid defensemen. They are built just like the Rangers. Suit wrote a preview of the series, and you should definitely be reading that. Justin also scouted out Carey Price, but that’s relatively useless now (Sorry Justin!).

Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):

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Gross: Brassard not taking line rushes

Per Andrew Gross, injured center Derick Brassard was on the ice for practice, but was not taking line rushes. Dominic Moore resumed his role as third line center with Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello. Brian Boyle was between Dan Carcillo and Derek Dorsett.

Carey Price done for the series

Per the Montreal Canadiens, goaltender Carey Price is done for the remainder of the Eastern Conference Finals. Price was hurt when Chris Kreider collided with him in the second period of Game One. Price finished the period, but did not play in the third. Price practiced just five minutes yesterday, leading to this announcement today.

Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski will start for the Canadiens going forward.