During Game 3 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals, New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan took a vicious hit from Montreal’s Brandon Prust. Stepan was face-down on the ice for several minutes following the hit and on Friday Rangers coach Alain Vigneault announced that the 23-year-old has a broken jaw.
Stepan had X-rays Thursday night during the game, and they were negative. He returned to the ice as the Canadiens wnet on to win the game 3-2 in overtime, but the Rangers still lead the series 2-1. After the game Stepan was still in pain and on Friday he saw a specialist. Further tests revealed the fracture.
Stepan will undergo surgery on on Friday and his status for the rest of the series will be determined afterwards. He is not expected to return for Game 4 on Sunday.
Prust was not penalized for the first-period hit but he faces an NHL hearing on Friday and could be suspended as a result. The hit was certainly late and Prust hit Stepan high, but it was unclear if the principal point of contact was the head or the chest. There is no doubt it was late, and in that sense, dirty. The question for the NHL will be whether or not the head was targeted.
Take a look at video of the hit below, do you think it was dirty and suspension-worthy?