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Brandon Prust suspended two games for interference on Derek Stepan

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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Brandon Prust's hit on Derek Stepan didn't earn him a penalty in Game 3 but it has earned him a two-game suspension from the NHL.

Early on in Game 3, Stepan had released the puck as the Rangers were moving up ice. It was well after he had passed the puck that Prust came in and delivered not only a late hit but one that was high as well. The most obvious missed call was for interference given its tardiness, exactly what the NHL suspended Prust for.

Some Canadiens spoke about the hit on Friday, including David Desharnais, and actually defended it. Not that you expect them to castigate Prust but there's probably a safe, middle ground to play along the "no comment" line.

"Yeah, the game is fast," Desharnais said Friday. "Like I said, Prust wants to set the tone to that game, goes, hits the guy. I thought it was a good hit."

The officials on the ice missed the call, only further upsetting the Rangers. It led to a skirmish shortly after in which Daniel Carcillo physically abused a referee, earning the Rangers forward an automatic 10-game suspension. Stepan, it was announced on Friday, suffered a broken jaw as a result.

One big question that emerges from this hit is which player will return first; Prust or Stepan? With a broken jaw, there is no timetable for a return on Stepan yet and if he's out for any length of time, it's a bad trade-off for the Rangers with one of their top guys going out while the Habs lose a grinder.

Though the Canadiens should be thankful it's only two games for Prust. There's no defending this hit as a good one, even if the Habs try, as it was so late, high and resulted in a bad injury. About the only reasonable argument to make is that Prust should get more than two games.

Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals will be Sunday in New York with the Rangers holding a 2-1 series lead.

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