The Montreal Canadiens weren't eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs on May 19. But if the Canadiens let the New York Rangers reach the Stanley Cup finals, May 19 will go down as the day they got knocked out of the playoffs in earnest, if not officially. In a day that started with Carey Price being ruled out for the rest of the Eastern Conference finals, Montreal ended it by letting Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers steamroll over it at home once again, in a 3-1 Game 2 loss.
The Canadiens had to name Dustin Tokarski as the Game 2 starter, after Price was ruled out due to his injury in Game 1. Yet no matter who Montreal threw at New York, he wouldn't have matched Lundqvist and his 40 saves, as he continues to carry the Rangers from a 3-1 second round deficit to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals.
In spite of their 7-2 Game 1 defeat and the loss of Price, the Canadiens controlled much of Game 2. But after taking a 1-0 lead six minutes in, Montreal saw New York rally just 17 seconds later on a goal from Ryan McDonagh. Then with a minute to spare in the first period, Rick Nash got his second goal of the series, after being shut out for the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Rangers' current emotional leader, Martin St. Louis, continued his hot streak after the death of his mother with a power play tally in the second period. From then on in, the Canadiens threw everything they had at Lundqvist, culminating in a third period with 19 shots on goal -- but no actual goals.
Lundqvist has been an elite regular season goaltender for years, yet has rarely taken the Rangers far in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But as he carries out a career-redefining run, the Canadiens have been thrown into chaos in their net. Montreal passed on regular backup Peter Budaj to give Tokarski a shot, yet it didn't work, although Lundqvist had more to do with that than anything.
Now the Canadiens need something else to give them a spark in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on May 22, or else they may never get back to Montreal alive. In that case, May 19 will go down as the day where their Stanley Cup playoff hopes truly died.