There will be at least one change coming to Montreal’s lineup when their
third round series resumes on Sunday night as the NHL announced on Friday that
Brandon Prust has been suspended for the next two games for his late hit on New
York forward Derek Stepan. Prust will be eligible to return to the lineup
for Game 6 next Thursday if the series gets that far.
The hit occurred in the opening minutes of Thursday’s 3-2 overtime victory in
New York. There was no penalty assessed on the play which likely led to
the scrap between Prust and Derek Dorsett on their next shift. Although
Stepan returned to the game after missing about six minutes while being
assessed, it was revealed early Friday that he had suffered a broken jaw and would be undergoing surgery later in the day. There is no timetable for his return though the Rangers aren’t ruling out the possibility that he could play in Game 4.
You can review the video of the infraction here:
This marks the second time in his career that Prust has been suspended, both
times in the postseason. In 2012, he was banned for one game for an elbow
against New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov in the third game of the Eastern
Conference Finals. (A random stat: It was only the second time in his
career at the time – spanning 301 games – that Prust had received an elbowing
The suspension will likely mean that one of Travis Moen or Michael Bournival
returns to the lineup. Moen last played on May 10th against Boston (Game 5
of that series) and has been a healthy scratch since. He has suited up in
just four games so far in the playoffs. The penalty kill has had just a
72.2% success rate since that time while Moen more adequately replaces Prust’s
physical abilities. Bournival has been scratched since the 7-2 rout to
kick off this series and eleven postseason games in total. His speed may
better complement Weise and Briere on the fourth line while he can also pitch in
on the PK if need be.
In other news Friday, the league announced that GM Marc Bergevin is a
finalist for the NHL GM of the Year Award. This marks the second straight
season that Bergevin has been up for the award. The other nominees are
Anaheim’s Bob Murray (also a finalist in 2013) and Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 24th at the NHL Awards.