NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens chose their words carefully after the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday that New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was suspended for two games.
Moore received the two-game ban for an illegal hit on Canadiens forward Dale Weise with 9:19 remaining in the third period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. He was assessed a match penalty on the play.
"If you talk to us, we're probably thinking more [games]. If you talk to the Rangers, they're thinking less. I guess it's kind of a middle ground," Montreal forward Daniel Briere said moments after the suspension was announced. "I think the biggest thing is hopefully seeing that Dale is OK. That's what matters the most for us."
For Briere and Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who spoke with the media after arriving from Montreal on Wednesday, Moore's suspension clearly was influenced by the two-game ban recently served by Montreal forward Brandon Prust.
"It's kind of what I thought would have happened. They're very similar plays," Gionta said. "I guess the precedent was set on Prust's hit. It's the NHL's decision."
Prust was suspended for his hit on Rangers forward Derek Stepan in the first period of Game 3. Prust, who was not whistled for a penalty during the game at Madison Square Garden, will return to the Canadiens lineup in Game 6 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Weise left for the locker room following the blindside hit by Moore, but he returned later in the third. He did not participate in Montreal's optional skate Wednesday, and no update was given regarding his status for Game 6.
Based on the punishment Prust received for his hit in Game 3, the Canadiens seemed satisfied with Moore's suspension.
"I think it's fair," Briere said. "Brandon paid the price for it."