The Montreal Canadiens got a hat trick from Rene Bourque and upended the New York Rangers 7-4 in a wild Game 5 on Tuesday night at the Centre Bell in Montreal.
With the victory, the Canadiens staved off elimination and forced the series back to Madison Square Garden in New York on Thursday night.
Montreal took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission on the strength of goals from Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec.
Derek Stepan, playing with a full face guard to protect a broken jaw suffered at the hands of Brandon Prust in Game 3, scored the lone tally for the Rangers in the first period.
The second period was one of the wildest 20 minutes of hockey you’ll ever see. The teams combined for six goals on 18 shots, and the Canadiens forced Henrik Lundqvist out of the game and onto the bench.
Max Pacioretty opened the scoring in the second, followed shortly by Bourque to give Montreal a 4-1 lead. The rout seemed to be on, with the Canadiens dominating the play and the Rangers seemingly already looking ahead to the next game.
Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault, in an effort to shake up his team, pulled Lundqvist—who allowed four goals on 18 shots—in favor of backup Cam Talbot, and the momentum of the game shifted quickly.
Rick Nash got one back for the Blueshirts, followed just over two minutes later by Stepan’s second of the game to cut the lead to 4-3.
Chris Kreider, already a villain in Montreal for his role in Carey Price’s series-ending injury in Game 1, knotted things up with a power-play goal with a little under six to play in the period.
But Bourque was having none of it. He scored his second goal of the night just 58 seconds after the Rangers tied it, putting his team in front for good at 5-4 heading to the final period.
He would complete the hat trick early in the third period, and David Desharnais would add one of his own into an empty net to salt the victory away.
The Rangers will host Game 6 on Thursday night, but they’ll likely be down a defenseman.
With a little over nine minutes to play in the third period, the Rangers John Moore connected with an elbow to the head of Canadiens’ forward Dale Weise. The hit was late and clearly dangerous.
Weise was clearly shaken up, Moore was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. The NHL will definitely review the play and is likely to assess supplemental discipline in the form of a suspension.