NHL takeaways: Habs ‘throw everything’ at NY, and plenty sticks

Canadiens' Rene Bourque (center) celebrates one of this three goals against the Rangers in Game 5.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images


Montreal 7, New York 4

Series: New York leads, 3-2

Key stat: Rene Bourque netted the first hat trick by a Canadiens player in a conference final since Guy Lafleur on May 1, 1975 against the Buffalo Sabres. Montreal had not scored seven goals in a playoff game since defeating the Hartford Whalers 7-4 on April 27, 1992.

Key player: G Henrik Lundqvist, New York. Lundqvist had been brilliant in this series but the Candiens chased him from the game after he allowed four goals on 19 shots — including a pair of softies.

What we learned: However long this series goes, New York will play it without sixth defenseman John Moore, who hammered Habs forward Dale Weise with a vicious elbow to the head in the neutral zone with 9:19 remaining — a play that will no doubt earn him a suspension. Moore will have a hearing Wednesday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for an illegal check to the head. Before the game, coach Alain Vigneault talked of playing disciplined hockey in what would be an emotion-charged building where the Canadiens were facing elimination. Then Chris Kreider took a tripping penalty 22 seconds into the game and the Canadiens scored on the power play to get a wild and wacky night off and rolling. Montreal scored eight goals in the first four games of the series. They nearly matched that on Tuesday, with all four lines chipping in. The Canadiens were actually the less disciplined team with 37 penalty minutes that gave New York seven power plays, but the Habs would not be denied. Montreal has rallied to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series twice after falling behind 3-1, but never in the conference final. The Habs last did it in 2010 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals. The Rangers have not won a playoff series in fewer than seven games since 2008 (five straight). They’ll be playing with fire if they fail to close out Montreal in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden, but fire is surely what we will see in New York after Rangers forward Derek Dorsett head-butted Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver with 34 seconds left. "That’s the type of player he is, a guy who runs around with his head cut off," Weaver said. "It’s not needed. He’s trying to get something going for the next game."

Next game: Thursday at New York, 8 p.m., EST

Final thought: Chicago won’t just be fighting for survival when it faces the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday at United Center. It will be fighting for dynasty rights. These two teams have won three of the past four Stanley Cups. If Chicago can somehow rally from its 3-1 deficit and oust the Kings, it will have been to three Stanley Cup finals in five years while L.A. will have only made one. That would clearly make the Hawks the team of this era — especially if they were to win a third Cup. But if L.A. wins this series and the Cup, we just might have the makings of a high-powered rivalry that will be contested for years to come.

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