Dustin Tokarski keeps the Habs in the series

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

DolanMarkov2

Both photo montages made by Paco Lebel.

Both photo montages made by Paco Lebel.

It was a big night for Quebec – our hottest movie-maker Xavier Dolan garnered raves at the Cannes Film Festival with his new flick Mommy and our hockey team clawed its way back into the Conference Final.

But first things first.

A star is born.

Dustin Tokarski stole this one. Montreal was the slower less dynamic team for large chunks of the night but they still managed to fight their way back into the series thanks to a for-the-ages performance from the rookie goaltender. Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

Tokarski stopped 35 of 37 shots and in fact both Rangers goals were flukey and had nothing to do with the Habs goalie. On the Carl Hagelin goal, the Habs netminder was taken out of the action by Josh Gorges who smashed into him and the tying goal in the dying seconds from Chris Kreider bounced in off Alexei Emelin’s skate.

Other than that, Tokarski was perfect – and in fact, he was often just downright stunning. He made two phenomenal saves off Martin St. Louis – one bounced off his glove and the other was a sprawling leg save that will be on every highlight reel for the next 24 hours.

So it’s just another young Montreal goalie who’s come out of nowhere to star in the playoffs. And Therrien is looking like a genius for going with him rather than the more seasoned Peter Budaj. And now maybe, just maybe, Hockey Night in Canada’s P.J. Stock will stop dumping on Therrien for his decision to start Tokarski.

The Habs had a remarkably flat start – they were out-shot 14-4 in the first period – and they seemed to gain confidence as the game went on. It does have you wondering how a desperate team comes out with such a lackluster first period. But they eventually woke up, maybe inspired by Tokarski’s heroics.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t underline the simply horrific play of Thomas Vanek. I had suggested benching him and many said it’s out of the question to not dress one of our best snipers. But he looks completely disinterested. He doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. The good news is that he’s losing millions every extra game he plays as all the GMs around the league see in living colour just how useless this guy is in money games.

But let’s focus on the positive. The Habs are back in this baby and if I’m in the Rangers shoes, I’m feeling a little nervous about Sunday. Like Therrien said, momentum shifts quickly in the playoffs. It just shifted.

– Brendan Kelly

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