NEW YORK -- One day after suspensions and surgery became the most discussed topics in the Eastern Conference Final, the New York Rangers were still trying to come to grips with losing one of their top centers for an indefinite period of time and another teammate for what could be the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Rangers center Derek Stepan had surgery Friday night to repair his broken jaw, an injury sustained 2:45 into the first period of Game 3 on Thursday as a result of an illegal check from Brandon Prust, the Montreal Canadiens forward.
Prust was not penalized by the on-ice officials, but on Friday he was suspended two games for interference by the NHL's Department of Player Safety.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said it's "unlikely" Stepan will play in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series, 2-1.
Prust, who said he was "trying to create some energy," expressed remorse for the hit. He said he sent a text message to Stepan, a former teammate with the Rangers, who he still considers a friend.
"I told him I feel awful," Prust said. "I didn't want to injure anybody, especially a friend of mine."
The next time Prust was on the ice after the hit on Stepan, New York Rangers forward Dan Carcillo hit Prust from behind into the end boards. Rangers forward Derek Dorsett then jumped into the play to fight Prust.
Carcillo received a minor penalty for charging, but tried to free himself from the grasp of linesman Scott Driscoll, who was leading him to the penalty box, while Dorsett and Prust fought several feet away. Carcillo also screamed at Driscoll from the penalty box. He was issued a game misconduct.
Vigneault said Saturday that the fact Prust was not penalized led to the chain of events which ended with Carcillo receiving the 10-game suspension for physical abuse of officials. Carcillo appealed his suspension Saturday.
Carcillo has not spoken about the incident, But Vigneault said Carcillo was unaware he had been called for a penalty and did not understand why he was being physically led to the penalty box.
"My biggest disappointment in this whole thing is probably what's happening to Dan Carcillo," Vigneault said after practice Saturday.
Vigneault did not absolve Carcillo of blame for the infraction that led to his automatic suspension. For the second straight day, he called Carcillo's actions "inexcusable."
"I would say to you his first comment to me was, 'I know I should have been in better control,' " Vigneault said. "He knows that. There is no excuse for what happened. Two wrongs don't make a right. Whatever happened before, he should have been in better control there. He knows that."
Rangers center Brad Richards called it "a lesson" for Carcillo that he's hopeful it will "turn out the right way for him."