The intensity and hatred in the New York Rangers-Montreal Canadiens Eastern Conference finals was lacking until the first period of Thursday night’s Game 3.
The first incident was Canadiens forward Brandon Prust delivering a late, high hit on Rangers forward Derek Stepan. Prust answered for the hit a few minutes later by fighting Rangers winger Derek Dorsett, but he might face additional punishment from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Prust was suspended one game in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals for an elbow to the head of New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov.
Prust’s latest hit, which can be seen in GIF form below, is a clear case of interference and should have been a major penalty. Since the referees missed it and no penalty was assessed, it would be a surprise if Prust wasn’t at least fined for this hit. Working in Prust’s favor is the fact that Stepan returned to the game later in the first period and didn’t appear to suffer any injury as a result of the collision.
The other incident was Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo being ejected for shoving a linesman while Prust and Dorsett were fighting.
It’s possible that Carcillo might have violated Rule 40.3, which states:
40.3 Automatic Suspension – Category II – Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.
Likely won't get word until morning, but sense Dan Carcillo may be in for a long suspension. 10 or 20 games according to rule 40.3 or 40.2—
Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 23, 2014
With third-line center Derick Brassard battling an injury, the Rangers’ bottom-six depth already is hurting. Losing Carcillo for any length of time would make that situation even worse. He’s not an impact player, but the veteran winger plays his role well.