The NHL Eastern Conference Finals best of seven series continues tonight from the Big Apple when the New York Rangers host the Montreal Canadians. The Rangers lead the series 2-1 heading into Game 4, but Montreal is coming off a big win in Game 3.
The two teams are not happy with one another as the Canadians head coach Michel Therrien has his problems with Ulf Samuelsson the assistant coach for the Rangers. At the same time, New York is angry with Brandon Prust the right wing for Montreal and Scott Driscoll a linesman.
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Therrien is not pleased that Samuelsson was watching some of Montreal’s practice Saturday at Madison Square Garden. He contended that Samuelsson had violated a coaches’ gentlemen’s agreement.
Between games, coaches cannot attend practices but on game day, that is different, said Therrien.
New York is upset that Derek Stepan the center on their top line will not play after having surgery on Friday to repair a fractured jaw after Stepan was hit by Prust on the open-ice during Game 3.
Alain Vigneault the New York coach said it was unlikely his center would play on Sunday.
However, New York will have Derick Brassard their center on the third line. Brassard has been out since taking a heavy check during Game 1.
Both teams are shorthanded as Prust and Daniel Carcillo a Rangers left wing, were suspended for their action in the previous game.
Prust is out for the late hit on Stepan and says that it was his fault. Prust said he and Stepan exchanged text messages and Prust expressed remorse after hearing about Stepan’s broken jaw.
Carcillo on the other hand could miss the rest of the postseason after being suspended for 10 games due to physical abuse of an official on-ice.
Carcillo, while a fight was taking place, elbowed Driscoll when the linesman was taking him to the penalty box. The elbow hit Driscoll in his face.
It is unclear if the Rangers will appeal the Carcillo suspension. If they do appeal it, it would go through the NHL players’ union. He can submit an appeal up to 72 hours after the ruling.
Coach Vigneault is upset that Carcillo is facing the suspension because he said the player had not committed a penalty and should not have been escorted to the penalty box by Driscoll.
However, Vigneault knows nothing can be done about the situation and the team has to move on without Carcillo for the rest of this series and likely through all the Stanley Cup Finals if they reach that point.