The Montreal Canadiens lived to fight another day.
Rene Bourque’s hat trick helped Montreal stave off elimination with a 7-4 win over the New York Rangers in game five of the Eastern Conference Final at the Bell Centre. The Rangers lead the series three games to two and have another chance to close out the series at 8 p.m. Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec also tallied for the Habs. Andrei Markov bounced back from a bad game five and handed out three assists. Dustin Tokarksi made 23 saves and got the win despite a shaky second period.
Derek Stepan, who returned after suffering a broken jaw at the hands of former Ranger Brandon Prust in game four, scored a pair of goals, while Chris Kreider scored once and collected three assists. Henrik Lundqvist, who was pulled after giving up his fourth goal of the game, made 15 saves. Cam Talbot came in to relieve Lundqvist, but gave up two goals on eight shots. Montreal’s last goal was an empty-netter.
Rick Nash also scored for New York.
Montreal got out to a 4-1 lead before the Rangers rattled off three consecutive goals to tie the game at 4 on Kreider’s goal 14:12 into the second period. The Canadiens quickly struck back as Bourque scored 58 seconds after Kreider’s marker. The Habs then added goals by Bourque and Deharnais put the game out of reach.
The game got chippy towards the end as Rangers’ defensemen John Moore received a match penalty for a late hit on the Canadiens’ Dale Weise with less than nine minutes left in the game. Moore was suspended two games by the NHL on Wednesday. Derek Dorsett also headbutted a Montreal player but no supplemental discipline was handed out.
There will be some lineup changes for both teams going into game six. Former Canadiens defensemen Raphael Diaz is expected to take Moore’s spot in the lineup. Diaz was acquired by the Rangers from the Canadiens at this year’s trade deadline.
For Montreal, Prust is expected to return after serving a two-game suspension for his hit on Stepan. Carey Price skated in full pads in the morning skate-around before game five. Reports speculate on his availability for game seven on Saturday if there is one.
Dan Mount covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for NYSportScene.com. He also is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com and is a producer for Spadora on Sports. He can be found on Twitter @DanMountSports.