Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 12:22 | By Agence France-Presse

Montreal Canadiens down New York Rangers in overtime

Alex Galchenyuk scored 1:12 into overtime to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a needed 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in the NHL Eastern Conference finals.

Montreal Canadiens down New York Rangers in overtime

Dan Girardi (R) of the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on May 22, 2014 - by Al Bello

With the win the Canadiens breathed life into their bid to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. They had dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series at home, but now trail two games to one going into game four at New York's Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Rangers had tied the game at 2-2 with 29 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Canadiens started strong in overtime, with Tomas Plekanec skating in through the middle and throwing the puck on net from the left circle.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made a left-pad save on the shot, but the rebound hit off a crashing Galchenyuk in front of the net and went in to end the game.

Montreal goaltender Dustin Tokarski, making his second playoff start with Carey Price sidelined by a knee injury, made 35 saves.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said 24-year-old Tokarski was key to the victory.

"Dustin Tokarski was phenomenal tonight," Therrien said. "He's a battler, and the most important thing, he's a winner ... without Tokarski's performance, probably the result would have been different."

New York had forced overtime when Chris Kreider scored his third goal of the playoffs with 29 seconds left remaining in the third, when the Rangers had lifted Lundqvist for an extra skater.

Kreider, who was in front of the net, deflected a shot by Dan Girardi.

The puck hit Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin's skate and redirected past Tokarski, who less than 30 seconds earlier had denied Martin St. Louis.

That tying goal came 2:33 after Daniel Briere had given the Canadiens a 2-1 lead. Briere was credited with his third goal of the playoffs although the puck was kicked into the net by New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

The Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by Carl Hagelin at 15:18 of the first period, and Canaequalizeddiens defenseman Andrei Markov equalized at 3:21 of the second.

The winners of the series will face either the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks or the Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup crown.

The Kings and Blackhawks are level at one game each in the Western Conference finals.

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