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Not surprisingly, Devils coach Peter DeBoer saw it quite differently.

“Head hunting. Plain and simple,” he said Saturday.

Prust wasn’t fazed a bit by DeBoer’s characterization.

“I’m not really too worried about what he has to say,” Prust said. “He’s not my coach.”

Prust’s suspension was the 13th handed out by Shanahan during this postseason, and the second to a Rangers player. Rookie forward Carl Hagelin was given a three-game ban in the first round for an elbow to the head of Daniel Alfredsson that gave the Ottawa Senators captain a concussion.

This is just the latest banter between the Devils and Rangers and their respective head coaches.

Tensions erupted on March 19 in the final regular-season meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals, when DeBoer had enforcers Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Ryan Carter in the starting lineup, and Tortorella countered with a physical lineup of Prust, Mike Rupp and Stu Bickel.

The game began with those six players engaging in fights.

DeBoer said Tortorella’s remarks on Sunday were, “comical.”

“Calling Prust a head hunter is unnecessary,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. “He has been a pretty honest player his whole career.”

Tortorella backed up Prust on Sunday, saying he didn’t feel the hit warranted a suspension. He also noted that Prust has never faced disciplinary action in his five NHL seasons.

Prust has played probably 300-plus games without any hearing, anything going on with him,” he said. “He’s probably one of the most honest players.

“Maybe if our players stayed down on the ice, we’ll get something.”

Without Prust, the Rangers could turn to Brandon Dubinsky to replace him. Dubinsky hasn’t played since Game 7 of the first-round series against Ottawa, when he injured his right foot or ankle. Dubinsky skated with his teammates while wearing a contact jersey during Sunday’s optional practice.

Another possibility is Mats Zuccarello, who has been sidelined since March 23 with a broken wrist.

Story Continues →