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Brandon Prust hit called 'head-hunting'

Brandon Prust checks Anton Volchenkov of the Devils

Brandon Prust checks Anton Volchenkov of the Devils in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. (May 19, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

NEWARK -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer called it "head-hunting."

Brandon Prust, whose elbow connected with the back of defenseman Anton Volchenkov's helmet near the boards with 2:36 gone in the second period Saturday, said there was no intent.

Nor was there a penalty called, but the league will certainly review the hit and Prust could face a suspension or fine.

Volchenkov, who sat for a few shifts after the play, then returned, said he felt fine after the game. "It's not bad. It's good," he said.

After watching the replay, he said he believed "it was pretty dirty, actually," but followed that by saying he didn't think Prust targeted his head intentionally.

"No," the defenseman said. "Again, it's emotion, maybe. He tried to hit me but a little bit miss . . . We'll see what's going to happen."

Breakout for Callahan?

Was Ryan Callahan's empty-netter with 2:13 left in the game a breakthrough for a captain struggling to score? Coach John Tortorella hopes so.

"It's killing him that he's not helping us a whole bunch offensively, killing him," Tortorella said. "But he continues to do those other things . . . He made a huge block at the end of the game [on Ilya Kovalchuk just before his goal] and gets robbed by Marty [a diving save with a half-open net early in the second]."

Callahan, who recorded the second assist on Chris Kreider's goal, played 19:58, had three shots and three hits.

"We've been finding a way here to win a few games without him totally going; I think he's close," Tortorella said. "You never know, you get an open-net goal like that . . . I've seen it before, a guy takes off, and that's what we're hoping."

Ice chips

Steve Eminger, playing his first game on defense since March 15, stepped in for rookie Stu Bickel and was on ice for 6:20, with just one shift closing out the third period . . . Ryan McDonagh led all skaters in ice time with 28:01 and blocks (four) . . . The Rangers blocked 19 shots, the Devils six.

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