Hats off to Montreal Canadiens rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who stopped 35 of 37 shots in Game 3 vs. the New York Rangers, but it was more of the Rangers’ lack of finishing and execution as to why the Canadiens would go on to win Game 3 in overtime by a 3-2 score.
Now I am not taking anything away from Tokarski. He played a phenomenal game for a rookie goaltender playing in only his second career NHL playoff game, but that being said, the Rangers should have won that game and there is no excuse for it.
You can say it was referee’s fault for not giving Canadiens forward Brandon Prust a penalty and a game misconduct for his blind-sighting hit on Rangers center Derek Stepan, and the chain of events that would ensue because of the non-call. If Prust was given a penalty and possibly thrown out of the game, Rangers’ Daniel Carcillo would have never been called for a penalty on Prust a couple of minutes later, resulting in Carcillo “elbowing” the referee, leading to Carcillo getting thrown out of the game and later given a 10-game suspension; meanwhile, Prust only received a two-game suspension. This chain of events all resulted in the Rangers playing one forward short for almost the entirety of Game 3, which the Rangers would go on to lose.
While unfortunate, you cannot say that was the reason the Rangers lost Game 3. Even with a forward short for most of the game, the Rangers still out-hustled and outplayed the Canadiens for the majority of the game, but at times got a little too fancy. Making that extra pass while pucks should have been thrown at the net toward Tokarski is ultimately what cost the Rangers in Game 3. They let the Canadiens hang around, and when you let any team hang around, it always comes back to bite you in the behind.
The Rangers simply must not let this happen again in Game 4 on Sunday … that is unless they already have tee times reserved for next week.