NEW YORK – Alex Galchenyuk tipped in a pass at the right post 1:12 into overtime, and the Montreal Canadiens overcame a late tying goal and beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night.
Montreal cut New York’s series lead to 2-1, and can tie it Sunday night at Madison Square Garden before heading home for Game 5.
Galchenyuk, playing only his second game of these playoffs after returning from an injury Monday, deflected Tomas Plekanec’s feed to win it.
“To be honest, I have no idea what happened,” Galchenyuk said. “I was going to the net and (Plekanec) hit the puck. He put it on net and it bounced off my stick or hit me. It went in, and the celebration started from there.”
The Rangers tied it with 28.1 seconds left in regulation on Chris Kreider’s goal.
Former Spokane Chief Dustin Tokarski was sharp throughout in his second NHL playoff game in place of injured goalie Carey Price, making 35 saves.
New York had its five-game winning streak snapped, and its run of six straight victories over the Canadiens also ended. The Rangers fell to 1-1 in overtime in these playoffs. The Canadiens are 3-1.
“We played really well, but we just have to forget about it, move on, and get ready for the next one,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said.
Montreal was poised to win it in regulation after Danny Briere scored with 3:02 left in the third, but Kreider matched him when his shot hit the sliding right skate of Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin in the crease and caromed past Tokarski, who thrust his head upward in disgust as Madison Square Garden shook.
“It was a real tough game,” Galchenyuk said. “They tied it with 20 seconds left and it was an emotional game. It was tough coming back in the locker room, but we focused. We have a character team, and we bounced back.”
Tokarski was playing in his second straight game because of a series-ending injury sustained by Price, who was barreled into by Kreider in Game 1.
Briere’s goal was also aided by an opposing defenseman, as Ryan McDonagh nudged the puck past Lundqvist.
Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov tied it at 1 for the Canadiens in the second period after Carl Hagelin staked New York to the lead in the first.
Tokarski, who was the Chiefs backstop during their 2008 Memorial Cup championship, was sharp throughout. He protected the lead with 55 seconds left, denying Martin St. Louis’ drive from the right side with a lunging save, but couldn’t close it out. He stopped 27 shots in a 3-1 loss on Monday in Game 2.
Lundqvist made 22 saves.
The Rangers were without forward Derick Brassard for the second straight game because of an upper-body injury.