The Montreal Canadiens were starting at a humiliating exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Although the Canadiens had only gotten this deep in the Stanley Cup playoffs once before in the last 21 years, their poor performances against the New York Rangers in Montreal were canceling it out. Another loss in Game 3 at New York would have practically closed the Canadiens out, yet they stood tall -- despite a late setback -- and salvaged a 3-2 overtime win anyway.
After losing twice at home and losing Carey Price for the rest of the Eastern Conference finals, the Canadiens seemed to pick up right where they left off. The Rangers had a 14-4 advantage in shots in the first period, yet they only had a 1-0 advantage in goals. Dustin Tokarski came into his own in his second game filling in for Price, but the Canadiens were showing him little support.
That started to change when Montreal's Andrei Markov tied it up in the second period. It stayed 1-1 until minutes left in the third period, when a series of flukes set in. First, Danny Briere was credited with the go-ahead goal for the Canadiens, yet it really went off of the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh. Nevertheless, New York had to pull Henrik Lundqvist and throw everything it had at Tokarski.
It finally paid off with another weird bounce, as Chris Kreider shot a puck that went off the skate of Montreal's Alexei Emelin, and right into the net. The Rangers headed into overtime with all the momentum and the 2-0 series lead, as the Canadiens' best chance to stay alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs seemed finished. Instead, it took only 72 seconds for Alex Galchenyuk to tip the puck past Lundqvist.
A series that looked like a total blowout now has drama again, although that can change if the Rangers bounce back in Game 4 on May 25. Given how Tokarski had to stand on his head for Montreal to win -- much like Lundqvist had to do for New York to win at various points in this postseason -- this could still merely be a last gasp for the Canadiens.
The Stanley Cup playoffs have pushed the Rangers to the limit twice already, so perhaps an easy series wasn't in the cards for them. However, facing actual adversity hasn't stopped New York so far.