New York–Dustin Tokarski played his first National Hockey League playoff game on Monday.
On Thursday, the 24-year-old rookie goaltender made 35 saves, was named the game’s second star, and earned praise from his coach and teammates.
He was ‘phenomenal,” said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien after the Habs 3-2 win overtime win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers outshot the Canadiens 14-4 in the first period.
“We weathered the storm and I felt our team played with more confidence as the game went on,” said Therrien, adding the Rangers got a break at the end of the game to tie the score with a puck hitting Alexei Emelin’s skate.
“But without Tokarski’s performance the result probably would have been different,” the coach said.
The way Tokarski played Thursday “on this stage shows you what he can do at this level,” said Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban.
“It’s a big boost for our hockey club. He made some huge saves where we’re kind of looking at each other (saying) ‘guys we’ve got to wake up. He’s giving us an opportunity to continue to have success here and you’ve got to back him up.”
The Canadiens need to play their game and for the most part of the series they haven’t done that yet, Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said.
“Game 4 will be a good test for us,” Gionta said.
It looked like the Canadiens might hang on in the third period to a 2-1 lead, but Chris Kreider tied the game at 19:31 sending the game into overtime. Alex Galchenyuk scored the game-winning goal for the Canadiens at 1:12 of the first overtime period.
You can watch what Tokarski had to say here:
You can listen to what Galchenyuk had to say here:
(Video: Brenda Branswell)