What the Habs need to do to win Game 6
The Montreal Canadiens did just that with their 7-4 win over the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre last night in Game 5. With the win, the Habs cut the series to 3-2 and now find themselves with a golden opportunity to tie the series tomorrow night in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden.
For the Canadiens to force a Game 7, they are going to need to follow a game plan consisting of three things. For starters, they are going to need a huge game out of netminder Dustin Tokarski.
Last night, Tokarski was good, but not great between the pipes for his hockey club. After his team got out to a quick 1-0 lead, he allowed a very soft tying goal to Rangers' forward Derek Stepan and also played a part in letting the Rangers come back from three goals down in the second period in a span of five minutes when his team was up 4-1.
With that said, however, Tokarski got his game together in the third period and made some big stops to help preserve a one goal a lead and enable his team to put two more on the board. He stopped all 11 shots he faced en route to picking-up his second win in three games.
Tokarski will need to be his team's best player tomorrow night if the Habs want to play a Game 7 at home on Saturday. The Rangers will more than likely come out of the gate putting lots of pressure on the Habs so Tokarski must be able to weather the storm.
Secondly, the Canadiens need to continue to find ways to score on the power play. The Rangers have taken a lot of penalties in this series and the Habs have not been as successful as they should be.
Last night is a perfect example of what a good power play can do for a hockey club. Rangers' forward Chris Kreider took a bad penalty just 22 seconds into the game and the Habs were able to make them pay with a goal by Alex Galcheynuk.
With that said, however, the Canadiens have to do much better if they want to extend this series. The team is only two for their last 12 with the man advantage so if they can change this, they might be able to come away with a big victory on Broadway tomorrow night.
Lastly, the Canadiens need to find a way to take the Rangers' fans out of the game. For the first time since 1994, the Blueshirts have a chance to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final with a victory on home ice.
To do so, the Canadiens have to come out hard, fire pucks at Henrik Lundqvist, pin the Rangers in their own zone and create turnovers. All of these things can quiet Rangers' fans while also enabling visiting Habs fans to be heard loud and clear.
The Habs may be one game away from being sent home, but if they can stick to the game plan outlined above, there is more than a good chance that they will be playing in a Game 7 on Saturday night at the Bell Centre with a chance to clinch a spot in the Final in front of their loyal and rabid fans.