If Martin St-Louis wasn’t fed the puck and given the opportunity to end Game 4 the way he so beautifully did, he couldn’t have complained.
After all, he was robbed by Dustin Tokarski in the waning minutes of the third period when the puck arrived on his stick, practically alone in front. And earlier, he was one-on-one with the Habs goaltender and failed to convert on a breakaway. In a game that featured boatloads of prime scoring chances, No. 26 led the Rangers with five shots, and he didn’t convert until it mattered most.
In the moments that led to game’s final goal, the Canadiens had at least two opportunities to clear and failed to do so. The Rangers held the zone, and the puck came to Carl Hagelin at the blueline, who threw a diagonal pass cross ice to St. Louis. Seconds later, my jaw was on the floor and fans at Madison Square Garden were through the roof.
With his head up all the way, St. Louis ended the 2-2 deadlock by picking the only available spot Tokarski gave him: short side, just under the bar.
Said Montreal coach Michel Therrien of the sequence that led to the goal, “We had a few chances to clear the puck out of our end and it cost us the game.”
Overall, it was a game of blunders, poor defensive coverage, tons of penalties and great goaltending. A wacky, wide-open affair. The teams combined for 13 minor penalties. Montreal was on the man advantage so much that they finally notched their first power play goal of the series, scored by P.K. Subban, who needed it badly after going without a point in five games.
Beyond the game-winner, there were a couple of goals worth a second look. The game’s opening goal was a shorthanded tally by Hagelin, who dashed through center and caught a pass from Brian Boyle:
My favorite, though, was Derick Brassard’s slapshot breakaway goal. It’s a ballsy play, one that makes the shooter look cool as hell if he converts, and foolish if he doesn’t. Thankfully for Brassard, the risk was worthwhile.
The Rangers now look poised to close out the series in short order. Winning without Derek Stepan, their best center, and solving Tokarski three times on a night when he played a formidable game, the Blueshirts have no reason to doubt that the series should end in Montreal on Tuesday night. The Canadiens are faced with the task of beating Henrik Lundqvist three straight times. Considering Lundqvist leads the playoffs with a 1.98 GAA and a .931 save percentage, don’t bet on a dramatic comeback.