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10 second-quarter points, led the Raptors in a 14-6 run to open the frame and Toronto pulled even eight minutes before halftime. The Nets took a | Forum

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jokergreen May 15
NEW YORK -- The goals got uglier as the game wore on, fitting for a playoff contest that was no thing of beauty. Thomas Vanek Jersey . But when the dust had settled, and the last puck had bounced in off a Montreal body, the Canadiens were back in the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers. Alex Galchenyuks goal 72 seconds into overtime Thursday gave Montreal a 3-2 win on hostile ground, helping the Canadiens get one foot out of their playoff hole. Montreal trails New York two games to one with Game 4 set for Sunday back at Madison Square Garden. Young goalie Dustin Tokarski made 35 saves to keep Montreal in the game, bouncing back from a 3-1 loss in his playoff debut in Game 2 in place of the injured Carey Price. "Dustin Tokarski was phenomenal tonight. Hes a battler, and most important thing, hes a winner," said Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien. "Without Tokarskis performance, probably the result would have been different," he added. Tokarski has a glittering resume outside of the NHL, having won the Calder Cup, the Memorial Cup, world junior championship and even minor hockeys Telus Cup. The native of Humboldt, Sask. was as composed after the game as he was during it, pressed up against a wall and standing on a box while surrounded by a phalanx of media. He was unfazed by the attention, despite having just a dozen NHL games under his belt. "Fun, awesome," he said when asked what his life has been like since taking over the Montreal goal. "I got a few Twitter followers so that was kind of cool." His count was 10,000-plus as of Thursday night. The game was no masterpiece. The officials missed some blatant thuggery and New Yorks Daniel Carcillo may have jostled his way to a suspension after an altercation with a linesman. Tokarskis play wasnt always pretty either but it was effective. He gave up rebounds but the Montreal defence cleaned them up. He clearly grew in confidence as the game wore on, keeping his team in it. "Its been the story all year for us. We find ways (to win), we never quit. Even when people are doubting us," said Montreal forward Daniel Briere, whose late third period goal was cancelled out by an even later one by Chris Kreider that forced the OT. "We dig deep and somehow find a way to come back. Its happened many many times this year. And once again ... We kept telling ourselves we owe Tokarski a win for the way he kept us in, we have to somehow find a way to go get it." In overtime, Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save off Tomas Plekanec but the puck bounced in off the upper torso of an onrushing Galchenyuk. It was a frantic finale to a game that saw three goals in the final four minutes 14 seconds of play. Brieres goal with 3:02 remaining had looked to be the Montreal winner. But with Lundqvist on the New York bench, Kreider tipped in a Dan Girardi shot from an extremely tight angle with 29 seconds left to force overtime. The puck needed help to go in, defecting off the right skate of Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin on the way in. Brieres go-ahead goal was equally fortuitous. Lundqvist made a fine stop on a Thomas Vanek shot from in-close. But the puck went to Briere who tucked it back around the post and off the trailing leg of Ryan McDonagh. Tokarski came up big for the Canadiens, keeping the visitors in a game where New York held the upper hand for long periods. Given the ramifications of a third straight Montreal loss, it was a tremendously timely performance. "Its a big win for him. Its a big win for us," said Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban. "This is a huge confidence-booster for our team," he added, Andrei Markov also scored for Montreal, which was outshot 36-33 during regulation time. Carl Hagelin opened the scoring for New York, which had won its five previous playoff games. Emotions ran high from the opening puck drop and former Ranger Brandon Prust applied a match to the fuse just three minutes in when he laid out New York forward Derek Stepan with an elbow/shoulder to the head at the New York blue-line. The officials, watching the play develop ahead, apparently did not see the blow which left Stepan face down on the ice and sent him briefly to the locker-room. "They missed it," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. The unpenalized Prust hit led to some frontier justice with Prust and Derek Dorsett fighting after Carcillo took a run at the feisty Hab at 5:51. Carcillo had to be held back as the fight went on, prompting a game misconduct for jostling linesman Scott Driscoll. The league looks poorly on such behaviour and Carcillo could face a lengthy suspension. "Well, he cant do that, obviously, what he did there, but well let the league handle that," Vigneault said. "I believe if a penalty would have been called on Prust, that probably wouldnt have happened, but theres nothing we can do about it." The amped-up crowd starting chanting "These refs suck" and enjoyed what they undoubtedly saw as karma when a Rangers shot nicked one of the referees on the ensuing power play. New York came out fast and led 1-0 after a dominant 20 minutes. But the Canadiens pushed back in the second to tie it up. "For the most part I thought we played a good game. We had some real good looks," said Vigneault. "We had opportunities to take the lead in the game and we didnt. Give credit to (Montreal), their team played hard, their goaltender played well." Montreal had little right to be on even terms going into the third. But thanks to Tokarski the Canadiens were, setting the stage for a tense finale. "We weathered the storm," said Therrien. "I felt our team played with more confidence as the game went on." Dale Weise was almost the hero for the Canadiens with five minute remaining, when an errant clearance went right to him in front of Lundqvist. But the Swedish star goalie stopped his blast from point-blank range. Tokarski stopped 27 of 30 shots in Game 2 -- his 11th NHL game and first playoff outing. And he was busy from the get-go Thursday, keeping the Habs in it with a string of saves. There was less action at the other end although Lundqvists 25-shot night was challenging at times. Coming into Game 3, Lundqvist had saved 162 of 168 shots during the Rangers five-game playoff win streak. And he stopped 60 of the 63 shots he faced in the first two games in Montreal, won 7-2 and 3-1 by the Rangers. Therrien shuffled his lines, moving winger Brian Gionta up to the second line, Weise to the third and dropping the mercurial Vanek to the fourth. Vanek came into the game with no points, one shot, two penalty minutes and a minus-3 in the first two games of the series. The Rangers outshot Montreal 14-4 in the first period, firing pucks from all angles and using their speed to good effect. The Canadiens were lucky not to be down by more when the dust settled, with Tokarski getting the job done one way or another. New Yorks early onslaught came despite winning just seven of 22 faceoffs in the period. The home breakthrough came on the Rangers 12th shot, courtesy of a two-on-one after a Subban shot hit Hagelin and created a two-on-one. Hagelin and Martin St. Louis advanced on defenceman Josh Gorges with Hagelin delaying his pass until the last moment before feeding St. Louis for a one-timer. A sliding Georges, who was virtually on top of Tokarski, somehow stopped the puck but it bounced into the air and Hagelin knocked it in from mid-air at 15:18. Montreal struck back at 3:20 of the second period after a seeing-eye pass across the New York zone from Max Pacioretty found Markov creeping in from the point and the defenceman beat Lundqvist with a low shot. Tokarski made big saves before and after the scoring play to keep the Habs in it. He stopped St. Louis on the doorstep, somehow getting his pad and glove up to stop the Ranger sniper. The shots were 13-9 in favour of New York in the period. NOTES -- Sting, Michael J. Fox, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Keener were among the celebrities in the crowd ... The game came one year to the day that Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was fired by the Vancouver Canucks. Derek Roy Jersey .com) - Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called Joe Flacco the NFLs best quarterback last week. Sam Reinhart Jersey . Pistorius denied the allegation that he said to the close friend of the girlfriend he killed: "How can you sleep at night?" The accusation by Kim Myers provided a bizarre twist during the trial of the world-famous double-amputee Olympian, who is facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for shooting dead Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, at his home last year.TORONTO -- For a young Toronto Raptors squad that had almost no playoff experience, Saturdays Game 1 had a little bit of everything -- from a faulty shot clock, to a GM hollering a profanity and a deliriously loud crowd dying for a post-season victory. It was a loss. But it was also a learning experience. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had 24 points each to lift Brooklyn to a 94-87 win over the Raptors, making their first playoff appearance since 08. "I thought we played a little bit as expected as it is our first playoff game," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "But still as bad as we played, we put ourselves in position to win and thats the approach we have to take. The series is now at only one game, there is still a lot of basketball to be played." Kyle Lowry, whose locker had a sign overhead that read "Good luck dad," had 22 points for Toronto. Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 18 boards in his first post-season appearance. "Just keep playing," was Lowrys message to his teammates after the loss. Greivis Vasquez added 18 points while DeMar DeRozan finished with 14 on an afternoon punctuated by Raptors GM Masai Ujiris apology for dropping an F-bomb when addressing a crowd, and the shot clock that malfunctioned midway through the third quarter. The Raptors might be the Atlantic Division champs and No. 3 seed in the East but theyre considered underdogs in this series based on experience -- or lack thereof. The Nets starting five came in with a combined 417 post-season starts. Torontos starters: zero. But if they felt any pressure, Valanciunas and Lowry certainly didnt show it. The 21-year-old Valanciunas became the first Raptor since Tracy McGrady in 2000 to record a double-double in his playoff debut and also set a record for rebounds (Keon Clarks 16 boards versus Detroit in 2002 was the previous mark). "I tell you what, I thought Jonas played big-time, he really did," Casey said. "He grew up today, that was huge for us." Paul Pierce added 15 points for the Nets and was especially lethal down the stretch, scoring nine points in the final 2:58. Shaun Livingston had 10 points as Brooklyn had 17 points off 19 Toronto turnovers. The Raptors rallied from an early 12-point deficit to take a one-point lead early in the third, but it was short-lived as Brooklyn led 67-62 heading into the fourth quarter. A basket by Lowry, then a three-pointer by Vasquez gave Toronto a 76-75 lead with 5:13 to play, but Brooklyn responded with seven straight points -- capped with a Pierce three-pointer -- to take a six-point lead with three minutes remaining. Pierce raised his hands and gestured to the crowd after his long bomb. "It was just emotions flying high, playoffs, close game, taking some shots, making some shots," Pierce said. "I really feed off the emotions of the crowd, especially on the road . . . I think its more gratifying than winning at home, I love those moments." The Raptors pulled to within five points several times over the final couple of minutes but could come no closer, sending the series into Game 2 on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre with the Nets leading 1-0. The series shifts to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Friday. Toronto forward Amir Johnson said turnovers proved costly for the Raptors. "Tough game. Our turnovers really hurt us," he said. "They really beat us in the third quarter. All around we played good basketball, there were just a lot of turnovers." Emotions ran high even before this series started, with talk the Nets tanked down the stretch -- losing four of their last five -- to purposely drop to sixth so theyd face the less-experienced Raptors. Ujiri took the stage before the afternoon game to address pumped-up fans at Maple Leaf Square. The moment seemed to get to him as he paired an F-bomb and Brooklyn on his way off the stage. "I apologize to kids out there and to the Brooklyn guys," Ujiri said at halftime. "Nothing against them. Just trying to get our fans going. Thats it." He offered over his shoulder as he walked away: "You know how I feel. I dont like them (the Nets), but I apologize. Alexander Mogilny Jersey. " Casey wasnt offended by Ujiris remarks. "Thats Masai, thats why our team plays like that," Casey said. "Hes a fiery guy, and that should represent how we feel. I dont have any offence of it whatsoever." Adding to an already strange afternoon, the shot clock went black with 5:57 left in the third, and after a 10-minute delay, it was decided the game would be played without one. Announcer Herbie Kuhn counted down the clock from 10 seconds on every possession. "Its not that disruptive, it is what it is," Lowry said. "You cant make excuses." The soldout Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,800, that included hip-hop artist Drake, former Raptors star Alvin Williams and Toronto FC GM Tim Bezbatchenko, was a sea of white, thanks to a pre-game T-shirt giveaway. They waved white towels. They stood and hollered for much of the game, breaking into random chants of "K-G sucks!" in reference to Nets veteran Kevin Garnett. "It was unbelievable, the atmosphere of the crowd, the intensity, the noise," Lowry said. "I can tell you the Brooklyn Nets, they were like Speak up, I cant hear, its loud in here. So it definitely affected them a little bit." Anthem singer Michael Ciufo sang the first verse of O Canada, then held up the mic and let the crowd take over, making for a stirring start to the afternoon. Outside, Maple Leaf Square was jam-packed as red-clad Raptors fans watched the game on the huge screen outside -- an idea that started with the Toronto Maple Leafs brief playoff run last year. Saturdays front page of a Toronto newspaper referred to Pierce, whos 36, and Garnett (37) as "dinosaurs." Pierce said he didnt see the paper. But when asked if hed ever played a game without a shot clock, he replied to much laughter from the media: "I dont remember if Ive ever played without it since Im a dinosaur. Its been so long." A grinning Pierce tried to chuck his headband up into the crowd as he trotted off the court after the game. Twice, fans threw it back. A reporter noted that Toronto fans clearly didnt want it. "Yes they did," Pierce said laughing. "They knew they had the cameras on them, they wanted to have pride. The third (throw) was a charm." The Raptors shot 39 per cent on the night, while the Nets shot 42. Toronto outrebounded Brooklyn 45-37. DeRozan and Terrence Ross both had shaky afternoons for Toronto -- the Nets did a great job in shutting down DeRozan, and Ross seemed to get flustered after picking up a couple of early fouls. "Weve got to make adjustments to help (DeRozan)," Casey said. "This is the time you do step up and nobody wants to win more than DeMar DeRozan. "His heart is into it, hes got sweat equity into this team. Again everybody is going to have an off night. Their whole gameplan was to take him out and theyre a veteran team and they did." Toronto (48-34) and Brooklyn (44-38) split four meetings during the regular season, with each team winning once on the opponents court. The Raptors had only opened the playoffs at home in one other year, in 2007 -- incidentally also against the (then-New Jersey) Nets. Toronto, also Atlantic Division champions that year, lost in five games. Valanciunas scored the teams first eight points of the game, and Lowry poured in 11 first-quarter points, but otherwise Johnson -- with two points -- was the only other contributor on the offensive end in opening frame. The Nets galloped out on an 18-2 run capped by a three from Williams to go up by 12 points with three minutes left in the first, and took a 29-21 lead into the second. Vasquez, with 10 second-quarter points, led the Raptors in a 14-6 run to open the frame and Toronto pulled even eight minutes before halftime. The Nets took a 50-46 advantage into the dressing room at the half. The Raptors had a brief one-point lead early in the third thanks to a three-pointer by Ross, but couldnt maintain it. The Nets led by eight before Lowry drained a three-pointer at the buzzer, pumping his fist as it cut Brooklyns lead to 67-62. 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