A little puck luck can go a long way, and in the case of the Montreal Canadiens, can breathe new life in a series that appeared to be careening towards elimination. Two minutes after Daniel Briere sucked the life out of Madison Square Garden by giving the Canadiens a late 2-1 lead, Chris Kreider solidified his role as post-season hero by tying the game back up with 30 seconds left on the clock. Both goals were of the ugly variety; Briere’s got caught in Ryan McDonagh‘s skate and carried across the goal line. Kreider’s game tying goal deflected in off Alexei Emelin‘s skate.
It would only be appropriate for Game 3 to end on a lucky bounce. 72 seconds into the overtime period, when the rebound of Tomas Plekanec‘s shot from the left point bounced off
Alex Galchenyuk and into the net. For a team that lamented its lack of puck luck after the first two games of the series, the hockey gods must have taken some mercy on the Montreal Canadiens last night.
Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski looked calm in his first road start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making 35 saves on 37 shots faced. Henrik Lundqvist faced less pressure when compared to the first two games, making 22 saves on 25 shots. The Rangers led the Canadiens 27-13 in shots entering the third period, but in a close game, so called “lucky bounces” can make the shot count pointless.
In his post game comments, Lundqvist voiced his disappointment over the result, but also said the Rangers need to move on and get ready for the next game:
It’s going to be tough for a couple of hours, but then you have to let [the loss] go. That’s part of playing in the playoffs, short memory, and win or lose you have to move on. We did so many good things, but it’s about winning, finding ways to win games.
-Courtesy of NHL.com
The Canadiens and Rangers will now have two days to regroup before Game 4 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers will attempt to bounce back and send the series back to Montreal with a 3-1 lead and force the Canadiens to face elimination. Montreal will be looking to ride their new found puck luck into a series tying win.