May 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski (35) makes a save as New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and right wing Martin St. Louis (26) look on during the second period in game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Resilient Rookie: Tokarski Doing Everything to Keep the Canadiens Alive


The script was set. The Montreal Canadiens versus the New York Rangers, two Original Six teams in the Eastern Conference Final. Carey Price versus Henrik Lundqvist in a rematch of Sochi’s gold-medal game. It almost seemed too good to be true and evidently it was, but who doesn’t like a small twist in the plot now and then.

A collision with Chris Kreider brought an end to Carey Price’s series and just like that, the script and the Habs’ chances at a Stanley Cup birth seemed to be thrown out the window after the Rangers handed Dustin Tokarski and his team a 3-1 loss in Game 2.

Darlene Tokarski, Dustin’s mother, said in an interview with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada that even his grade-two teacher knew there was something special about her son.

This kid has been special alright. Tokarski has been a model of consistency for the Canadiens after recording a loss in his playoff debut and despite losing a heartbreaker in overtime in Game 4 Sunday night.

A tired Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin couldn’t clear the puck in the defensive zone after the Canadiens spent almost the first five minutes of overtime in the Rangers end. Carl Hagelin caused the turnover and sent a pass to a wide-open Martin St. Louis, who buried the puck high-glove past Tokarski to send the series back to Montreal with a chance to close the series out on Tuesday.

A three-to-one hole is not insurmountable, a comeback is definitely possible, just ask the Los Angeles Kings. But Tokarski will have to take his coming-out party to a whole other level if he even thinks about outdueling The King, Henrik Lundqvist.

Despite the outcome of this series, the future of goaltending in la belle province looks bright and if it’s any sign of what’s to come, this tandem of Price and Tokarksi could be a two-headed monster looking to bring about a reckoning of the Eastern Conference.  Before Habs fans can start thinking about that sequel, this script isn’t over just yet.

 

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