Following a disappointing 3-2 overtime Game 3 defeat, Rangers center Derek Stepan took the high road regarding Brandon Prust’s late hit that sent him to the locker room in the first period. The questionable play came in the game’s first few shifts when the former Ranger came across and delivered a dangerous check that caught Stepan’s chest and made contact with his head.
When he left the ice, a furious Stepan let the referees know about it. He also had some strong words for Prust, who certainly got the Rangers attention. It was earlier in the series that he accused Chris Kreider of knocking out Montreal starting netminder Carey Price “accidentally on purpose.” With his team desperate to back in the game, Prust pushed the envelope by catching Stepan up high after the puck had been released. To get technical, it came nine tenths of a second late yet went undetected.
When asked about the severity of the hit, Stepan told a group of reporters he was mostly concerned about the head. He also noted that Prust got shoulder and that he was a bit vulnerable which resulted in contact to the head. There’s no question it came from the blindside. Before being asked whether the league should review it, Stepan was quick to point out that the main focus was on losing Game 3 and needing to respond Sunday.