Dustin Tokarski gets Game 3 start for Montreal vs. Rangers

The reason why Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien decided to go with Dustin Tokarski in Game 2 against the New York Rangers was that “he’s a winner.” And despite losing Monday night 3-1 and falling behind 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Final series, Therrien really emphasized that his goaltender did “well” by saying so three times in his post-game remarks while answering one question.

On Wednesday morning Therrien further confirmed how much he was pleased with Tokarski’s Game 2 performance by announcing he would go back to him for Game 3 Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, with the Canadiens facing the prospect of an 0-3 series deficit. 

Tokarski expressed he had some “good nerves” while playing in his first ever playoff game. But with a game under his belt now and the Canadiens’ desperation level at a higher tick, the pressure is probably now all on the Rangers to finish off the Carey Price-less team and reach the Stanley Cup Final.

After Game 2, Tokarski’s counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, had some words of advice for the young netminder.

“The mental aspect is everything for a goalie,” he said. “So, obviously, coming in like this, it's all about how you approach it, how you think, and he was probably in a good place because he played well. It's about not putting too much pressure on yourself.”

While Tokarski settles in, the Canadiens should be more worried about trying to solve Lundqvist, who hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game since Game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thomas Vanek, who hasn’t scored since Game 6 of the Boston series, was skating on a fourth line Wednesday. Rene Bourque, who came alive against Tampa Bay, has one goal since the start of Round 2. Same for Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec. 

The ones who helped carry Montreal to this point, haven’t been able to get back in the goal column lately. If that continues, this series could be over by the end of the weekend.

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