Rookie netminder Dustin Tokarski made 35 saves, and Alex Galchenyuk netted the overtime winner to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
Playing with their backs against the wall—and without their starting goalie Carey Price for the second straight game—the Canadiens came into hostile territory and got themselves back into the series.
The Rangers now lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final 2-1 with game 4 in New York on Sunday night.
The first period got off to an ugly start on Thursday night.
Under three minutes into the game, Canadiens' forward Brandon Prust hit Rangers' forward Derek Stepan late, leading with his shoulder and seeming to connect with his chest and head on a blindside hit.
The referees, who were up the ice, missed the play, but Stepan was forced to leave for medical attention. He would return.
Agitated by the play, Rangers' forward Daniel Carcillo took a run at Prust during his next shift and was called for charging. Prust ended up dropping the gloves with Derek Dorsett, while Carcillo, still angered over the penalty call, seemed to make contact with the face of a linesman, earning a game misconduct and potential suspension.
Prust could also face supplemental discipline when the NHL reviews the play.
Carl Hagelin struck first for the Rangers, batting in his own rebound off a feed from Martin St. Louis on the rush.
Andrei Markov would get the Canadiens even early in the second, and that’s where the game would stay until a frantic final three-plus minutes of regulation.
Danny Briere netted his third goal of the playoffs with just over three minutes to play, benefitting from a deflection off Ryan McDonagh’s skate in front.
The goal seemed to be the game winner, but Chris Kreider forced overtime with his own deflection, off the skate of Alexei Emelin, with just 28.1 second remaining.
But the euphoria in the Garden would be short-lived, as Galchenyuk silenced the crowd with a tip-in goal just 1:12 into the extra frame.