NHL: Bourque’s Hat Trick Helps Canadiens Prevent Elimination
The hats came raining down Tuesday night in Bell Centre. Rene Bourque accomplished what could be considered a series saving performance, with his first career hat trick to help propel his team to a 7-4 victory.
Thanks to the immense help of Bourque, the Canadiens remain in the battle for the Stanley Cup. Tuesday night Bourque increased his playoff goal total to eight, only one away from his regular season total of nine.
Goal tending proved to be a problem for the Rangers. Although most would have foreshadowed a matchup between Carey Price and Henrick Lundqvist in an elimination game, it came down to two backup goaltenders. After Lundqvist allowed four goals into the second, he was replaced by Cam Talbot, and it became a matchup between Dustin Tokarski and Talbot.
The Canadiens were quick to score first, doing so only 1:48 into the first period giving itself an early 1-0 lead. Derek Stepan took to the ice for the first time since breaking his jaw, and earned the Rangers its first goal to tie the game at one. When the first period came to an end, Montreal was in the lead with the help of a soft goal by Tomas Plekanec.
By the time the second period came around, the contest became an action-packed battle full of surprises. Max Pacioretty increased the Habs’ lead to two 3:44 into the second, and Bourque scored his first goal of the night after being left alone to sink the puck. By the time the score reached 4-1, Lundqvist was pulled and replaced by Talbot.
Suddenly, a turn of events would take place to put New York back in the game. Halfway into the second, the game started to fall into the Rangers’ favor and they managed to tie the game at four. Rick Nash started the rally, followed by Stepan’s second goal of the night placing the Rangers one goal behind Montreal.
Shortly after it became a one-goal game, Plekanec was removed for embellishment. While the Rangers had the advantage, Ryan McDonagh took advantage of an empty net to tie the game at four. Unfortunately for New York, Bourque scored his second goal to give the Canadiens a lead that would last the remainder of the game. Bourque sunk his third goal, and completed the hat trick, roughly six minutes into the third giving the Habs a two-goal lead.
John Moore now faces the problem as to whether or not he will be playing in game six. He laid a hit on Dale Weise that resulted in a five-minute major, and awaits response from the Department of Player Safety.
The Habs are now 3-0 in elimination situations this postseason. New York and Montreal will return to Madison Square Garden on Thursday to play game six of the series. The Rangers lead Montreal three games to two.