MONTREAL - Brandon Prust is no stranger to heated altercations.
Prust was at the centre of controversy after Tampa Bay's 6-2 walloping of Montreal in Game 2 on Sunday.
The Canadiens forward alleges referee Brad Watson insulted him repeatedly in the game's first period after he took a roughing penalty.
"I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let (Watson) know on the way to the penalty box," said Prust, who ended the game with 31 minutes of penalties and a game misconduct. "He kept provoking me. He came to the box and called me every name in the book."
Prust claims he did nothing wrong to bring on Watson's exchange of words, though he was given an extra two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct in addition to the initial roughing call.
"He called me a piece of you know what, an (expletive), coward, said he'd drive me right out of this building," said Prust of Watson. "I wasn't looking at him. He teed me up.
"That's the ref he is. He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight."
Prust got back into penalty trouble late in the third period when the Canadiens were already down four goals.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the London, Ont., native tripped Ben Bishop as the Lightning netminder played the puck behind his net. Tampa's Braydon Coburn then jumped on Prust and the two dropped their gloves.
"I barely touched him," said Prust of Bishop. "He flopped like he normally does. It was nothing."
Tampa coach Jon Cooper thought Prust might have been trying to injure Bishop on the play.
"You have to kind of think (Prust) is going in there for one reason, right?," said Cooper. "He wasn't going to get the puck from him. He had one thing on his mind and it was probably to make sure he injured him.
"Whether that's the case or not, I don't know."
After Prust was given the game misconduct, the 31-year-old threw his elbow pad at Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos on his way to the dressing room. Stamkos then tossed the elbow pad into the stands.
Though the Lightning didn't score on any of Prust's penalties, the Canadiens' lack of discipline ended up costing them the game.
Montreal took 13 penalties and conceded four short-handed goals on the evening.
"We're not blaming anyone," said Tomas Plekanec. "Everybody takes bad penalties once in a while. In a game like that, we can't take as many as we did."
With P.K. Subban in the box for a cross-checking minor, Tampa Bay's Valtteri Filppula scored the equalizer at 19:36 of the first period. In the second, Nikita Kucherov put the Bolts up 3-1 just 14 seconds after Gilbert took a cross-checking penalty.
Victor Hedman made it 4-1 as Petry watched from the penalty box and Kucherov added his second of the game midway through the third following Mitchell's face-off violation penalty.
"I don't think there have been too many games this year where we've had that many penalties and put ourselves in that position," said Subban. "We can't afford to give teams that many opportunities on the power play.
"We don't want to be in the box all game."
Tampa Bay finished 4-for-8 with the extra skater. The Lightning now lead the best-of-seven-series 2-0.
Notes ??? Tampa's Cedric Paquette left the game injured in the second period and did not return. ??? Stamkos and J.T. Brown scored even-strength goals for the Bolts. Defencemen Petry and Gilbert scored for Montreal. ??? Carey Price made 18 saves in defeat while Bishop stopped 27-of-29 shots.