MONTREAL – Rene Bourque scored three goals and the Montreal Canadiens chased goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and defeated the New York Rangers 7-4 on Tuesday to stave off elimination in the Eastern Conference final.
The Rangers, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, will have another chance to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Final when they host Game 6 on Thursday in New York.
Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais also scored for Montreal, which outshot the Rangers 28-27.
“That was a lot of fun,” Pacioretty said. “We came out strong. That’s a group effort. Everyone contributed tonight and that makes it more special.”
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Derek Stepan, playing with a guard on his helmet to protect a broken jaw suffered from a Brandon Prust hit in Game 3, returned to the lineup to score twice for the Rangers. Chris Kreider had a goal and three assists and Rick Nash also scored.
“It was a different game than what we’ve had so far in this series,” said Alain Vigneault, who is in his first season as Rangers coach after previously coaching the Vancouver Canucks.
Montreal failed to score more than twice in regulation in any of the first four games of the series.
At 10:41 of the third period, Rangers defenseman John Moore was given a major penalty and was ejected for a blindside, open-ice hit on Dale Weise that was similar to Prust’s hit on Stepan. Weise was wobbly when he got up and went for treatment, but returned to the bench late in the period.
It was a night of strange bounces and spotty goaltending, even if one of New York’s best chances of the game had Carl Hagelin’s shot stopped by the end of Dustin Tokarski’s goalie stick midway through the first period.
Lundqvist was pulled in favor of Cam Talbot after allowing four goals on 19 shots.
“I pulled him because I thought at that time we needed a little momentum shift,” Vigneault said. “I thought it might catch everyone’s attention. It did for a while. But obviously it didn’t work out.”
Tokarski stayed in despite allowing four goals on New York’s first 14 shots.
A mere 22 seconds into the game, Kreider was sent off for tripping and the Canadiens converted when Galchenyuk tipped in P.K. Subban’s point shot from the edge of the crease at 1:48.
Several hats were thrown on the ice after Weise sent Bourque in alone to get his third of the game 6:33 into the third period. Desharnais scored a short-handed goal into an empty net at 15:43.
The Canadiens scored seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since beating the Hartford Whalers 7-4 on April 27, 1992.