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Pacioretty says Tokarski made a name for himself

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.

The 24-year-old stopped 31 out of 32 shots, yet that one goal allowed was enough for the Rangers to advance.

Was Tokarski better than Henrik Lundqvist, as Rene Bourque claimed? Maybe not, but Tokarski played well enough that the conversation wasn’t by any means outrageous.

“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.

  1. dolphincult - May 30, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    I believe he was better the Henrik. He was far busier and faced far more quality chances over the series. but do you restrict him to the backup role for 25-30 games for Price or do you send him back to the age and let him play every night to continue developing and see what his ceiling is? Budaj has one year left at 1.4. Tokarski 2 years at 560k. I say 10-15 games in the big. Keep developing in the AHL for one more season and give budaj is 1.4 and 20 games plus keep his positive locker room presence

    • joey4id - May 30, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      dolphincult – May 30, 2014 at 12:40 AM
      get back to the hab forum joey. this isn’t your place to comment.

      Do I have your permission to comment here?

      Do you actually think before you post a comment? Tokarski is not a backup goalie. He is young and has a proven track record as a starter and winner. He’s going to want to the net more often than not. You don’t put someone with that attitude as a backup goalie. The net belongs to Price, and last thing you want to do is have someone like Tokarski around Price on a daily basis. Boudaj understand his role and accepts that he’s a backup. Price, at 26 his no where near his prime, and same can be said about Tokarski who is 24. If Price was in his 30s then that would be a different story. The kid is ready to make a run as a number 1 goalie. He’s excellent trade material.

      • hockey412 - May 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        I think where I’m stuck on it is that I didn’t get the sense they gave him the job because they clearly favored him, I thought it was a ballsy move made because they knew they weren’t trusting Budaj. The immediate need has to be covered. If it’s no longer a need, alrighty then, trade away.

  2. dubblelznhell - May 30, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    Pretty sure the kid had a better save percentage than their Queen Henrietta…

    • buckhome - May 30, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      pretty sure one will be in the HOF and the other will be watching games from the hall… oh wait, only the visiting backups sit in the ahllway at the Bell Centre. Never mind

    • nyyrkj - May 30, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      dubblelznhell you are a loser, moron,, idiot and f-tard. You should immediately take a car and drive it right off a cliff. Unless you want to come see me and I’ll f*** you up like the little b**** you are. Same thing goes for the piece of s*** cups.

  3. 950003cups - May 30, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Thanks for nothin’ Habs.

    • barkar942 - May 30, 2014 at 2:24 AM

      Oh, come on, cups. Your Devils will play again…someday.

  4. sabatimus - May 30, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    As much as I hate the Habs, I think Pacioretty is right. Tokarski has a lot of promise.

  5. rockczar - May 30, 2014 at 5:43 AM

    I have seenequite a bit of Tokarski when he was with the Lightning organization. He has nothing to prove at thru AHL level. Calder cup winner and now in his prime. Either the number two in Montreal or traded for assets but how can you justify sending that kid back to AHL after the series he just had?

  6. johnstone17 - May 30, 2014 at 5:53 AM

    This kid was lights out.

  7. papajack1259 - May 30, 2014 at 6:41 AM

    There is no doubt Tars played well but crown not until he goes through an entire NHL season. Anyone can shine for a time even in the lime light of the playoff, same can be said for anyone can get ice cold (are you listening cindy, krecji) what really happened here is puck luck left the Habsburgh dynasty. The whole world saw the antics the feigning penalties the dives and it caught up to them they win and die with power play and posts. Hey Tort I hope you saw how hockey is coached, how players can perform when the coach is not in their head. And on their back

  8. rpiotr01 - May 30, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    He was superb last night, and very good throughout the series. He needs to spend time with a good goalie coach because there are some holes in his game – three times last night he left a gaping wide open net on wrap around attempts because he was too aggressive and out of position, and those attempts weren’t goals because of good play by the Montreal D men. On Brassard’s mini breakaway he was so far out, if Brass pulled it back and went around him there would have been nothing but net. That sort of thing can be coached though.

  9. doknyc - May 30, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    as a lefelong ranger fan, glad to see the 20 year drought come to an end…

    this team reminds me of ’94… last nite was a perfect gameplan, you could see the habs D, tiring… keep rolling four lines, need just four more tough, tough wins… but they can be had…

    tokarski played out of hs mind this series… third on the depth chart, then a starter… well played man… subban, on the other hand… not so much…

    lets go rangers (clap, clap, clapclapclap)

  10. 7mantel - May 30, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    All series long it was Price this, Price that, if only we had Price ,talk about DISRESPECT the Hab fans showed no respect for Tokarski ! He played a hell of a series !

    • nyyrkj - May 30, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      I think Tokarski did just as good, if not better than Price would have. Some of these Habs fans are such sore losing babies and need to stop watching hockey if they are going moan and groan like crying little b******.

  11. bucrightoff - May 30, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    With any offensive support Tokarski could have stolen that series. He was great, made every timely save they needed. But when pretty much every Habs player except for Game 5 disappears on offense, it’s kinda hard to win. Vanek probably cost himself a couple million on his new contract.

  12. titansbro - May 30, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Now some goalie desperate team will trade way too much for him & he will wind up being mediocre.

    • 7mantel - May 30, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      Who knows ,the Caps had a young goalie ( I forgot his name ) a few year back who played great in the playoffs and everyone thought he going to a elite goalie . He ended up being just ok .

      • isphet71 - May 30, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        Neuvirth?

      • 7mantel - May 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        That’s who I was thinking of, thanks !

  13. doknyc - May 30, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    id like to dedicate the pearl jam song, “rearview mirror” to the canadiens, because thats where im glad to see them…

  14. montrealknowledge - May 30, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Trade bait… Price clearly is going to play 72 games a year, sell the kid high… Or showcase him for a year then do it.

    • hockey412 - May 30, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      You’ve got a back-up that isn’t trusted in the playoffs, and he’s still a very young goalie. Why sell this one right now, to expose the lack of depth in goal more? You can only ‘sell’ if you’ve got another one just like him ready to take his spot. He’s got two years left! Develop him and see what happens.

      • joey4id - May 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        412, I have to disagree with you, and agree with montrealknwoledge.

        Read my post above for the reasons I believe they will trade Tokarski.

  15. heynyc61 - May 30, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    Yes he played well but he gave up a lot of juicy rebounds…. Rangers failed to bury those especially in game 3 or it might been a sweep. Tokarsky played well. Can’t imagine price would have done better

  16. isphet71 - May 30, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Tokarski probably earned himself a starting spot somewhere in the league next year. If the Habs were smart, they would trade the guy right now while his stock is high.

    You hate to let good players go, but Price would have to pull a DiPietro for Tokarski to start any time in the next 6-7 years. The Habs are better off trading Tokarski for a possible top 6 forward to help replace the debacle that was Vanek and an aging Gionta.

  17. joey4id - May 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Hard not to be satisfied with Tokarski’s performance under the circumstances. However, there is a psychological aspect in the context of a team sport that we need to consider. Players forge strong bonds with each other during the course of an 82 game schedule. Over the course of the season they learned to trust each other, and came to trust that Price had their backs should they make mistakes which could lead to a scoring chance. Price became their safety valve. Then suddenly he was yanked because of an injury, and that for the remainder of the series. Now that safety valve is replaced by a new and unproven one at the NHL level. Sure, overtime they will or got to trust him, but never at the same level as they trusted Price, and that fact may cause many to be more tentative, and play a different game than they would have under normal circumstances. We’ll never know how the series would have turned out with Price, but make no mistake about it. His loss had a huge impact on the player’s psyche which they had to overcome in a short period.

    NY on the other hand had to deal with a different set of circumstances which led to the boys rallying together and tightening their bonds, trust and respect for each other.

  18. rsl22 - May 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Halak roughed up the Caps and Pens a couple years back, and Tokarski looked good against Rangers, and Price is always solid…It may just be the Canadiens have a good D corp.

  19. darksidecowboy - May 30, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    With Tokarski, and Vitale in the minors the Habs have a nice goalie stable. A little trade chip for Bergeron this offseason?

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