The Montreal Canadiens will live to see another day thanks to left winger Rene Bourque.
Bourque scored a natural hat trick to lead the Canadiens to a 7-4 win over the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
"I had a tough first period; the puck was bouncing a lot. I found it a little bit better in the second," Bourque said. "Sometimes it seems that wherever you're going the puck seems to be following you. My linemates did a great job of getting the puck to me and we had a lot of shots on net."
Left wingers Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty and centers Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais also scored for the Canadiens, who have now won three straight elimination games this postseason.
New York, which still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, got goals from center Derek Stepan (twice), and wingers Rick Nash and Chris Kreider. The loss snapped the Rangers' five-game playoff road-winning streak against Montreal, which dates back to Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in April 1996.
"It's disappointing, obviously," said Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. "We wanted to close it out tonight (but) for whatever reason we weren't able to put a game together that was able to slow them down and give ourselves a chance to win the hockey game."
Galchenyuk got things started with his second of the playoffs at 1:48 of the first period. After Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello failed to clear, Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban ripped one from the blue line that was tipped by the second-year forward, standing in front of Lundqvist. It was just the second power-play goal the Canadiens have scored in the series.
Speedy left-winger Carl Hagelin came within inches of getting the Rangers on the board midway through the frame on a 2-on-1 rush feed from right-winger Martin St. Louis. But rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski came up with a highlight-reel save, getting the knob of his stick up just enough to deny the Swede. It was one of 23 stops he would make on the night.
The Rangers wouldn't be held off much longer. Stepan's shot from a few strides inside the Montreal blue line beat Tokarski to tie it at 1 at 10:44 of the first period. Stepan returned to the line-up after missing Game 4 following surgery to repair a fractured jaw suffered in Game 3.
Plekanec restored the Canadiens' lead less than two minutes later on a similar play in the Rangers' zone.
Montreal picked up its first two-goal lead of the series when right winger Brendan Gallagher, falling, fed Pacioretty with a cross-ice dish at 3:44 of the middle stanza. Pacioretty made no mistake on the chance, scoring his fifth goal of the playoffs to make it 3-1.
Left untouched in front of Lundqvist by the Rangers' top defensive pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, Bourque notched his first of the night on a spin-and-score less than three minutes later. That marked the end of the night for Lundqvist, who allowed four goals on 19 shots.
"I pulled him because I thought at that time we needed a little momentum shift, and I thought it might catch everybody's attention," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "It did for a while. Obviously it didn't work out."
Shortly thereafter, the visitor's rally began. First came Nash's tally at 9:48 that was tipped by Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges. A few minutes later, Stepan picked up his second of the night on a miscommunication and failed clearing attempt by Montreal. Kreider, from the crease, evened it up, 4-4, on the power play at 14:12.
Bourque brought a nervous Bell Centre back to life 58 seconds later when his shot from the high slot beat Talbot.
"It's obviously tough to give up a couple of goals like that when you have a 4-1 lead," Pacioretty said. "There was no timeout. The guys on the bench knew we had to look in the mirror and do it ourselves, and Bourquey stepped up so you've got to give him all the credit in the world turning that momentum back around."
The hats came flying at 6:33 of the third period when Bourque made his way through the New York defense and converted winger Dale Weise's feed.
Weise left the game at 10:41 of the final frame when he took a blindside hit from Rangers defenseman John Moore, who was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty. Weise returned to the Canadiens' bench several minutes later.
Desharnais sealed it for Montreal with an empty-net goal after the Rangers pulled their goalie with just over four minutes left.
New York netminder Cam Talbot stopped six shots in relief.
NOTES: LW Rene Bourque's hat trick was the first in the playoffs by a Canadiens player since former winger Andrei Kostitsyn realized the feat in 2010 against the Washington Capitals. ... Canadiens LW Brandon Prust served the second game of his two-game suspension for his hit on Stepan in Game 2. ... Montreal D Nathan Beaulieu drew back in after sitting as a healthy scratch in Game 3. He replaced D Alexei Emelin, who was out with an injury. ... New York LW Daniel Carcillo served the second of his 10-game suspension. ... Game 5 marked the first time since Game 6 against the Bruins that the Canadiens scored more than three goals.