NEW YORK, N.Y. – Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust has been suspended two games for a blindside hit that left Rangers forward Derek Stepan with a broken jaw.
The incident occurred at 2:45 of the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday. No penalty was assessed on the play
Stepan’s injury required surgery.
New York coach Alain Vigneault provided the injury update the morning after his team’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final.
The Canadiens forward blindsided Stepan with a late shoulder hit, leaving him lying face down on the ice about three minutes into Thursday’s game. There was no penalty on the play and Stepan returned to the ice later in the period after going to the dressing room.
“We looked at it,” Vigneault, speaking after the game, said of the hit. “The referees missed it.”
A team spokesman said X-rays after the game were negative. But Stepan was in pain and saw a specialist Friday, when further tests detected the broken jaw.
Vigneault said he would know more about Stepan’s condition after the surgery.
The NHL called the interference a “late, violent hit,” noting Prust doesn’t commit to the hit until after Stepan has released the puck.
“What elevates this hit to merit supplemental discipline is its extreme lateness and the significant head contact that results from the way it is delivered,” the league said in a video decision on the hit
Prust is a repeat offender, having been suspended once before.
Habs forward David Desharnais called it a clean hit. He told reporters that while no one wants to see a player get injured, Prust was just trying to set the tone.
New York leads the series to two games to one.