The New York Rangers have put themselves just two wins from their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday night at the Centre Bell in Montreal.
The defining story of Monday’s Game 2, and possibly the rest of the series, was who was and was not in goal for the respective teams.
Henrik Lundqvist came through when his team needed him the most, making 40 saves, many of the difficult variety, to key his team to a crucial road victory.
Dustin Tokarski, a 24-year-old rookie starting for the injured Carey Price, was solid in net during his playoff debut, stopping 27 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Canadiens came out of the gate playing with tremendous energy and effort. Without their leader and netminder for the remainder of the series, Montreal took the lead just over six minutes into the first period on a goal from Max Pacioretty.
But the lead was brief, lasting just 17 seconds before the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh, who now has six points in the first two games of the series, equalized when his shot deflected in off Canadiens’ defenseman Josh Gorges back.
Rick Nash would add what would ultimately prove to be the game-winning goal, beating Tokarski off a beautiful feed from Chris Kreider with just over a minute remaining in the first period.
Martin St. Louis would add a power-play goal, his fifth of the playoffs, a little over eight minutes into the third to ice the game.
The Rangers lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final 2-0. The series now shifts to New York on Thursday night for Game 3.