Peter Budaj? Dustin Tokarski? The Rangers don't seem to care who's in net tonight for the Canadiens..
"You feel terrible for (Carey Price)," Martin St. Louis said. "You know how hard they've worked. But for us we'll focus on how we're trying to play. You try to set the tempo and guide the momentum. We're a hungry bunch right now, we've got to keep pushing regardless of the situation on the other side. We understand where we are."
"Really disappointed. He's (Price) our best player," coach Michel Therrien said. "Looking at the incident (the collision with Chris Kreider in Game 1) , you know, it's a reckless play. That's the truth."
Budaj was the first goalie off the ice at their morning skate in Brossard, but because Therrien didn’t reveal his choice, many in the Canadien press corps were lobbying for 24-year-old rookie Tokarski, who has zero NHL playoff experience, and reporting that he will start.
He was 2-0, with one shutout (against the Sabres on March 16), a 1.84 GAA and .946 save percentage. He was the goaltender on winners in the lower ranks: Memorial Cup (2008), on the gold medal team in world juniors (2009) and on Calder Cup champs (2012).
Given the atmosphere here, Therrien might be pilloried if he makes the wrong choice with this gutsy move. Or the Habs could rally around him and Therrien looks smart rather than desperate.
Tokarski, who is listed a 5-11, was acquired from Tampa on Valentine’s Day in 2013 for Cedrick Desjardins. In 41 games with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs, Tokarski was 20-16-3, with a 2.38 GAA and .919 SP.
During the season, the Rangers had troubles with some young goaltenders, falling to Edmonton’s Ben Scrivens, Washington’s Phillip Grubauer, Nashville’s Carter Hutton and Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper.
“You don’t even put it in your thought process, you’re going out to win a game,” Brad Richards said about goaltending changes. “If Price is playing, I wouldn’t be thinking about where I’m shooting any differently than if somebody else was in net. I can tell you one thing, we have to do the same thing, we’ve got to get traffic in front of him; goalies don’t like screens, shots tipped. ’’