May 19, 2014 in Sports

Ex-Chief Tokarski makes NHL playoff debut

The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

MONTREAL – Dustin Tokarski thought he “played well” in making his first NHL playoff start Monday night.

The 24-year-old rookie goaltender and former Spokane Chief knew that wasn’t good enough, though, with Henrik Lundqvist doing his thing at the other end.

Thrust into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night with the Canadiens No. 1 goaltender, Carey Price, out with a right knee injury, Tokarski couldn’t keep up in a 3-1 Rangers’ victory at Bell Centre.

After Lundqvist made 40 saves, the Rangers take a 2-0 series lead back to Madison Square Garden for Game 3 Thursday night.

“I thought I played well, but came up short with a few big saves,” Tokarski said after his 27-save performance. “(Lundqvist) made a few more big saves, game-changers, than I did and that was the difference tonight.”

Rather than go with 31-year-old veteran backup Peter Budaj, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien started Tokarski, citing his “track record” as “a winner.”

Tokarski won a Calder Cup with Norfolk in the AHL in 2012, a world junior championship with Canada in 2009 and a Memorial Cup with Spokane in 2008.

“He did really well,” Therrien said. “… We’re pleased with our decision.”

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