Brandon Prust’s Dirty Hit Has Doomed the Canadiens

Derek Stepan after illegal hit by Prust (Photo by Anthony Causi)

Derek Stepan after illegal hit by Prust (Photo by Anthony Causi)

Brandon Prust may have finally delivered the knockout blow…to the Canadiens. His late and high hit on Derek Stepan left the center motionless on the ice for a few seconds. On one play, Prust wiped away any “remorse” the Rangers had for “accidentally on purpose” knocking out Carey Price.

Prust's late hit (ctsy @myregularface)

Prust’s late hit (ctsy @myregularface)

Last night, it was clear who the best team in this series is. NY simply controlled play and dominated. The Canadiens were simply hanging on for dear life. Had it not been for 2 “lucky” goals and one slip up in coverage, the Blueshirts would be up 3-0 in the series.

Credit the young rookie in the Habs goal on a great performance, as Marty St. Louis alone could’ve had a hat-trick. Now the Rangers know he can perform, so game 4 will see NY come at him even harder and with more traffic in front.

Back to the Canadiens style of play last night. It could be summed up very easily, DIRTY! Cut and dry, Montreal opted to deliver late hits, slashes, head shots and a slew foot. The dirtiest players were Prust and PK Subban. Let’s have a look shall we, courtesy of Stephanie (follow her on twitter, she is amazing @myregularface):

* Up first, Subban slew foots Dorsett! Nice form, Pele like even.

Subban slew foot

Subban slew foot

* PK Subban obviously played Mike Tyson’s Punch Out as a kid.

Subban punches Dorsett (@myregularface)

Subban punches Dorsett (@myregularface)

Is any of this new? No, the Canadiens have been playing dirty since the third period of game 1. It’s the old scratch and claw your way out mentality and reflective of their coach who once told George Laraque to run a goalie when he coached the Penguins.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.45.50 AM

While the Canadiens won game 3, they did nothing to address their inability to deal with a much faster and intelligent Rangers team. Lundqvist also had his worst game of this series and it took OT to beat him.

A quick look at the advanced stat shows the Rangers pure dominance in this series.

ECF STATS (extraskater.com)

ECF STATS (extraskater.com)

Even though Subban certainly played his “dirty” little heart out last night, it was former Ranger, Brandon Prust that gave the Blueshirts another cause to rally for. After the game Vigneault and Stepan had something to say about it.

Alain Vigneault: “I believe if a penalty would have been called on Prust, it probably wouldn’t have happened (Carcillo incident). But there is nothing we can do about it.”

Derek Stepan: “I personally think it’s late and I think the main contact is my face. It’s playoff hockey, but I still don’t think it’s a very good hit. I would certainly hope the league would look at it.”

Believe it or not, the best thing for the Rangers is Prust doesn’t get suspended. Why? Because it will feel like one more injustice and give NY that “us against the world” mentality Montreal had last night.

The Canadiens won the battle of game 3, thanks to luck, dirty play and late hits. Thanks to Brandon Prust’s Pearl Harbor job hit, the New York Rangers are awake and ready to win the war.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore