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Habs force Game 6

USA Today Sports photo Montreal’s Rene Bourque scores the second of his three goals against the Rangers Tuesday.

MONTREAL (TSX) Rene Bourque recorded his first career postseason hat trick as host Montreal staved off elimination by winning Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty each scored and set up a goal, Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais also tallied and defenseman Andrei Markov notched three assists for the Canadiens.

Former Ranger Brandon Prust will be eligible to return for Game 6 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden after serving his two-game suspension for interference.

Chris Kreider collected a goal and three assists and Derek Stepan tallied twice in his return from a one-game absence due to a broken jaw for New York. Rick Nash scored and set up a goal for the Rangers, who split a pair of 3-2 overtime decisions at home in Games 3 and 4.

Bourque gave Montreal a 5-4 lead with 4:50 remaining in the second period as he wristed a shot from the slot that beat Cam Talbot (six saves), who relieved Henrik Lundqvist (four goals on 18 shots).

Bourque completed the hat trick 6:33 into the third, settling Dale Weise’s pass before chipping the puck over Talbot’s glove for his team-leading eighth goal. Desharnais sealed the win with a short-handed empty-net tally with 4:17 remaining in the session.

Bourque also scored from the doorstep at 6:54 of the second to give Montreal a 4-1 lead before New York forged a tie by tallying on three of its next four shots. Nash’s sharp-angle bid caromed off the stick of Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges at 9:48, Stepan cleaned up a rebound for his second goal of the game and Kreider tapped blue-liner Ryan McDonagh’s centering feed past Dustin Tokarski (23 saves) at 14:12 for a power-play tally.

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