May 30, 2014, 12:43 AM EDT
When it was clear that Carey Price would miss the rest of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, it seemed like the Montreal Canadiens were doomed. They did indeed fall in six games to the New York Rangers, yet it’s difficult to place the blame on little-known goalie Dustin Tokarski.
Actually, if you ask Max Pacioretty, Tokarski played well enough that he shouldn’t be so anonymous any longer.
"If he didn’t make a name for himself the first couple of games, tonight he did” – Max Pacioretty on Dustin Tokarski—
Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) May 30, 2014
The 24-year-old stopped 31 out of 32 shots, yet that one goal allowed was enough for the Rangers to advance.
“I thought the kid did a fabulous job. He gave us a chance to win every night that he was there,” Michel Therrien said. “Yes, we lost our best player early in the season in Carey Price, or in that series, I mean, but we had confidence in the young man. Dustin was, as far as we’re concerned, he was really, really good.”
While there were some ups and downs for Tokarski (he struggled almost as much as Lundqvist in Game 5), the aggressive goalie made quite a few highlight reel stops.
There was this stop on Martin St. Louis in Game 3:
He beguiled St. Louis again in Game 4 before the Rangers forward beat him in overtime of that same contest:
Even on a tough night for goaltending in Game 5, he made a big stop against Carl Hagelin:
The Canadiens actually re-signed Tokarski to a two-year contract extension in April, so he could very well end up becoming the backup goalie for Price that Montreal trusts (instead of, say, Peter Budaj).
If nothing else, he mostly silenced doubters who believed that the Rangers would easily dismiss the Canadiens from the playoffs.
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