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Canadiens stave off elimination, Rangers come back in wild Game 5

Bourque's hat trick gives Canadiens new life
Bourque's hat trick gives Canadiens new life
Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

The Stanley Cup playoffs have made it impossible for the Montreal Canadiens to count themselves out. Although the Canadiens faced a 3-1 deficit to the New York Rangers before Game 5 on May 27, these Stanley Cup playoffs have already seen 3-0, 3-1 and 3-2 comebacks. As such, maybe it wasn't shocking that a 4-1 Montreal lead wasn't safe in Game 5, yet Rene Bourque gave the Canadiens new life anyway in a 7-4 slugfest of a win.

The Canadiens jumped over Henrik Lundqvist right away, on a power play goal just moments into the evening. The Rangers tied it up later in the first on a goal from Derek Stepan, who was just days removed from jaw surgery. But after that, Montreal seemed to take control with three straight goals, the last of which came from Bourque in the second period.

That goal got Lundqvist pulled and ended his streak of invincibility in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Rangers could have thrown in the towel then and there -- but if they were like that, they would have fallen to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last round when they were in a 3-1 hole.

Rick Nash stopped the bleeding with a goal, then Stepan got his second of the night before Chris Kreider completed the comeback on a power play. With the score improbably tied at 4-4, the Canadiens needed a hero. But just 58 seconds later, Bourque took up the cause and put Montreal back ahead for good.

Once things finally settled down, the Canadiens held their 5-4 lead until Bourque gave them some insurance -- and caused a delay when fans kept throwing hats onto the ice. There would be no more comebacks after that, as David Desharnais capped the scoring on an empty net, sending the series back to New York.

The Rangers had been blessed in the latter half of the Stanley Cup playoffs, as this is the first significant speed bump since the Penguins put them on the brink of elimination. Now that the Canadiens have new life, all they need to do is win at Madison Square Garden on May 29, and all the momentum is back in their favor.

Montreal has clearly been the inferior team in this series -- but as New York obviously knows, the weaker team at the start of a series isn't always weak at the end.

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