MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens' three-goal lead was gone, wiped out by the New York Rangers in a span of 4:24 in the second period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. Goalie Dustin Tokarski could have been reeling and questioning himself, except he didn't have time.
Less than 50 seconds after Rangers forward Chris Kreider scored the game-tying goal, there was forward Brian Boyle charging down the left side, hoping linemate Derek Dorsett would gain enough speed to make it a 2-on-1 on Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillon.
Dorsett didn't quite get there, but Boyle had an angle, so he blasted a shot from the left circle. Tokarski made the save, directing the puck into the corner. Bouillon got to it first, chipped it up and started a rush that that led to Rene Bourque's game-winning goal.
Tokarski had rough night Tuesday, giving up four goals on 27 shots. But that save on Boyle started a play that nine seconds later turned the momentum in this wild Game 5 back in the Canadiens' favor and may have shifted the pressure in the series back to the Rangers.
Bourque completed his hat trick in the third period, and Montreal stayed alive in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final with a 7-4 victory at Bell Centre.
The Rangers lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Bourque was the center of attention, but Tokarski gave him and the Canadiens a chance with that one save at a time when things were looking bleak.
"At that point it's a tie game (4-4), we're at home with the crowd behind us, you never know, next shot can win," Tokarski said. "You just stay focused the whole time."
He was focused in that moment with 6-foot-7, 244-pound Boyle barreling down on him. Like the rest of the Canadiens, Tokarski never flinched, never panicked. He came out to the top of blue paint and challenged Boyle. He won the battle. The Canadiens lifted him from there by scoring three unanswered goals and extended their season by at least one more game.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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