Blown calls lead to big trouble between Canadiens-Rangers in Game 3

Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust fights New York Rangers forward Derek Dorsett during Game...

Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust fights New York Rangers forward Derek Dorsett during Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference final at Madison Square Garden in New York, May 22, 2014. (BEN PELOSSE/QMI Agency)

Terry Koshan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:35 AM ET

Four National Hockey League teams remain in contention as the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs chug toward the end of May.

The New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings have been playing at an elite level to reach their respective conference finals.

The NHL should expect as much from its referees.

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final on Thursday night, the Canadiens and Rangers deserved the best from Marc Joannette and Kevin Pollock. They didn’t get it.

How did former Ranger Brandon Prust get off with no penalty for his late, open-ice hit on Derek Stepan in the first period? Joannette and Pollock missed it, and Stepan, who later returned, was so incensed as he was led to the dressing room that he punched the glass.

There’s potential for a suspension for Prust.

Not surprisingly, there were domino-effect shenanigans. Later, Daniel Carcillo charged Prust to incur a minor, but wanted a bigger piece of the Canadiens forward. While Derek Dorsett saw to that and fought Prust, Carcillo tussled with linesman Scott Driscoll and got a game misconduct. Carcillo appeared to catch Driscoll with a deliberate elbow to the chin, and if the NHL follows rule 40.4 to the letter of the law, Carcillo will be suspended for not less than three games.

Carcillo’s ways as unpredictable player go back to his time in major junior, and he remains a player who is difficult to completely trust.

Never mind that. If a call was made on Prust initially, whether a major or a minor, the resulting trouble could have been avoided.

POINT SHOTS

None of the game’s final three goals came on actual shots, with Alex Galchenyuk’s chest, or so it appeared, supplying the winner at 1:12 of overtime. As your minor-hockey coach continuously drilled into you, get the puck on net because anything can happen ... Of course, the game ends in regulation in favour of the Rangers if not for the brilliance of Canadiens goaltender Dustin Tokarski ... Just before Danny Briere scored at 16:58 of the third period to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead, Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov came up with a big shot block ... Ryan McDonagh had a solid game on the Rangers blue line, but was accidentally at fault when he kicked Briere’s pass attempt into the net. The goal doesn’t happen if Thomas Vanek doesn’t miss the net, which sort of makes sense, given the way Vanek has been playing ... But a sure-win? Not so fast. Chris Kreider’s deflection off the skate of Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin with 29 seconds left sent the game to overtime ... If Martin St. Louis couldn’t get to sleep on Thursday night, figure that it was Tokarski’s fault. Tokarski twice stretched out to stop St. Louis from the side of the net ... The Rangers dominated the first period but required a strange bounce to score. P.K. Subban couldn’t corral the puck at the New York blue line, creating a 2-on-1 for Carl Hagelin and St. Louis. Hagelin waited forever — or so it seemed — and passed to St. Louis just as Josh Gorges wiped out Tokarski. With his goalie lying prone on the ice, Gorges made a great glove save on St. Louis, but Hagelin stayed in front of the net and batted the puck in ... Desperation has become a buzz word, especially in the playoffs, and the Canadiens didn’t start with much, going nearly 11 minutes between shots on goal in the first period.

FROM THE HASH MARKS

Stepan had a good view of Max Pacioretty on the play that led to Montreal’s second-period goal and failed to see Markov, who deposited Pacioretty’s great pass behind Henrik Lundqvist, on the other side of the zone ... We get that Brendan Gallagher brings it on every shift, but when the diminutive Canadiens forward tried to get McDonagh to fight toward the end of the second period, it was dumb. But not as dumb as Gallagher taking a retaliatory penalty for bopping McDonagh in the face before the goading. In the third period, Gallagher looked to be gone on a breakaway, but McDonagh caught up to him and knocked the puck off Gallagher’s stick ... Imagine what an NHL game would look like if each player had the same kind of exuberance and energy that Subban brings every night? And we’re talking about before the puck drops. Subban couldn’t stop moving during the anthems and sang for a bit during The Star Spangled Banner ... With his continued struggles, Vanek’s inconsistencies have been an offensive drain on the Canadiens. Still, given the absurdity that commonly occurs on the first day of free agency, it’s safe to assume Vanek will be overpaid, whether it’s by the Minnesota Wild or another club.

 


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