It doesn’t matter who was in goal for the Montreal Canadiens. There was only one way they could have won – a shut out.
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves, including some key ones in the first 10 minutes that kept the New York Rangers in the game and gave his team a 2-0 advantage as they head home.
The Canadiens played a much better game, and were stoned at every turn by Lundqvist. Dustin Tokarski allowed three goals – and only one may have been saved – and generally didn’t look out of place considering he hadn’t played in a month.
The line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher was absolutely outstanding. They scored the opening goal and all approached 90% Corsi which means that 90% of shots while they were on the ice were fired at Lundqvist. If they can keep that up, it’s only a matter of time that the Canadiens will break through.
I was also very impressed with the play of Nathan Beaulieu. He had a lot more ice time as he tired to push the offence forward when the Canadiens were looking for a goal. He didn’t look out of place and even created some scoring chances.
Thomas Vanek seems to lack a little confidence, as his passing while on a breakaway attests to. It’s possible he was trying to draw a penalty, but he needs to get a shot out of a scoring chance like that. I like Vanek, but he needs to make better decisions with the puck.
Alex Galchenyuk looked really good despite not playing in a long time. He should improve every game, which bodes well for the Canadiens as they look for any way to beat Lundqvist.
The Canadiens had offensive pressure by most lines, but Dale Weise and Brandon Prust were notably absent on scoring opportunities. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michael Bournival re-enter the lineup for Game 3.
Like I said, I didn’t feel Tokarski played a bad game and should improve now that the nerves and rust is shaken off. He isn’t Carey Price, but he doesn’t have to be. His teammates just need to get more pucks past Lundqvist and may have to put traffic in front like the Boston Bruins did against Price last round.
All in all, it was a great effort, disappointing result but they still have to lose two more before their season ends. It is the first time this year they trail a series by more than a game and only the second time they have lost two straight games.