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Habs to start Tokarski again in Game 3

May 21, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

The Montreal Canadiens will go back to Dustin Tokarski in goal for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed on Wednesday.

Therrien, who gave Tokarski his playoff debut in Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Rangers, wouldn’t commit to a starter following the game — leading to speculation that backup Peter Budaj might get the nod at MSG on Thursday.

Speaking of speculation, we discussed who Montreal would start in the most recent PHT Extra…

It’ll be interesting to see how Tokarski fares after getting the jitters out in Game 2. While he wasn’t terrible (27 saves on 30 shots), he did look shaky at times and a bit slow in his reactions, likely the result of having played just 10 previous games at the NHL level and not getting any game action since mid-April, when he was playing for AHL Hamilton.

Going back to Tokarski is probably the right decision for Therrien (who, let’s be honest, isn’t really working with great options at the moment). Following Monday’s loss, the Habs head coach said he thought Tokarski “played well” against the Rangers, adding he started the 24-year-old netminder because “if you look at his background, his track record, he’s a winner.”

  1. terrier92 - May 21, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    This is another example of coaches screwing up with goalies. Habs are toast .

    • stakex - May 21, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Not really.

      Unlike with Anaheim, the starter for the Canadians was never in doubt… it was going to be Carry Price. They didn’t switch away from him out of choice, but rather because he was injured. Now, while Budaj is a decent backup goalie… that’s exactly what he is, a backup goalie. His career stats are sub part, and what little playoff experience he has seen was mostly disastrous.

      As such, its not shocking the Canadians passed on him and took a shot with a rising young prospect who very well might be a starting goalie in the NHL at some point. Odds are he will play no worse than Budaj, and there is a possibility he could play a lot better.

      • dolphincult - May 21, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        Agreed stakex. Tired of hearing about playing budaj who has .800 % in the playoffs. He is probably the best backup goalie in the league but he crapped the bed in period 3 of game 1. Calling Tokarski a winner is an understatement. If the kid could somehow get hot (a la Cam Ward) he find a way to steal a game at MSG. Obviously the players felt the urgency with the way they played in front of him. Without a vezina candidate at the other end, habs win game 2 at home going away.

      • terrier92 - May 23, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        I was wrong. Kid was excellent.

  2. barkar942 - May 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    I personally would have gone with Budaj. He played well against the Rangers earlier this season.

  3. stakex - May 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Of course they are. The decision to start the almost completely inexperienced (at the NHL level) Tokarski over the veteran Budaj in game two told you everything you need to know: Therrien has no confidence in Budaj, and since Tokarski didn’t play particularly bad I don’t see why they wouldn’t start him.

    • 950003cups - May 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      If they have no confidence in Budaj, can we possibly see Brodeur to back up Price?

      • nebbah306 - May 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        Why would Brodeur go to MTL? I know hes from there, but I would think if hes going to stay a backup, he might as well do it for the only franchise he’s ever played for.

        Or are you secretly hoping he does go there?

      • 950003cups - May 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        No, I think he secretly wants to play a few games there. He also knows that NJ has a few backups that they need to start moving up in the system and sort them out. So he might already know if they wont sign him back in NJ.

      • stakex - May 21, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        I guess that’s possible. I think the only problem is Brodeur probably wants to play 30ish games at least if he comes back, and I don’t see Montreal giving him that with Price as the starter.

  4. peepeehead - May 21, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    In game 3, the Godfather Don Corleone will send his capo Chris Kreider to Tokarski to give him an offer he can’t refuse.

    • nyrnashty - May 21, 2014 at 1:41 PM


  5. nybadger - May 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Peepeehead, if this was a joke, it was pretty funny. If it wasn’t, it was still pretty funny.

    • peepeehead - May 22, 2014 at 2:59 AM

      When Tokarski wakes up with a moose head in his bed he won’t think it’s funny!

  6. bruinsfan1953 - May 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Habs already won the cup. They beat the bruins

    • bigblueapple - May 21, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      No they didn’t, but they did the next best thing and took out the trash.

      • bucrightoff - May 21, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        Well of course as a Ranger fan you’re greatful. Had the Bruins won that series they would have swept the Rangers.

    • chip56 - May 21, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      The only thing better than bitter Boston fans are bitter Pittsburgh fans…this year the good lord has blessed us with both…it’s a great time to be alive.

      • bucrightoff - May 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        Not a Pittsburgh fan, just a fan of non-boring hockey. Rangers getting annihilated by the Blackhawks would be entertaining though, in the train wreck sort of way.

    • bmy0913 - May 21, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      Man, the homers are out in force today. Stats don’t lie gentleman. Score’s dont lie.

      Side bar, is it bad course etiquete for Lucic to tell his caddy hes going to fing kill him next year if he misses a putt?

      This off season may get even longer for that one…..

    • peepeehead - May 22, 2014 at 2:57 AM

      We’re talking about the Stanley Cup, not the Sissy Cup.

  7. bleedrangerblue - May 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Chip56 right on!!!!

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