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Prust comes out rough and tough for Rangers

Brandon Prust #8 of the New York Rangers

Brandon Prust #8 of the New York Rangers takes Jack Johnson #3 of the Los Angeles Kings into the boards resulting in a penalty during the first period. (February 2, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES - The P.A. announcer at Staples Center on Tuesday was wrong.

It's not pronounced Brandon Prooost, it's Brandon Prust.

"In juniors, they used to say 'rhymes with rust or dust,' " said the scrappy 25-year-old wing who is expected to make his home debut at Madison Square Garden Thursday night against the East-leading Washington Capitals.

Prust displayed no rust or dust in his first game as a Ranger here on Tuesday, when he collected a career-high 19 minutes in penalties, including a boarding minor when he mashed defenseman Jack Johnson from behind in the first, and a game misconduct for instigating a fight with Kings forward Brandon Segal in the second period. It was his 19th bout this season.

Given his hard-nosed style, he could become a fast favorite on Broadway.

"I might not go coast to coast, but I create some energy and stick up for my teammates when need be and try to get out and try and get some big hits," said the 5-11, 195 pound Prust, who showered Segal with rights and drove him to the ice.

"Brandon competed," said coach John Tortorella, who declined to detail his impressions of Prust or Olli Jokinen, the biggest name in the trade for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. "It's been a couple of long days for them and I'm going to reserve comment on play and where they fit and all that, and just give them a chance to settle in."

Prust, who has two goals and six assists and 250 penalty minutes in 90 NHL games, played 13 shifts, a total of 7:41, and he might see fourth-line minutes if Enver Lisin returns to the lineup Thursday after being a healthy scratch against the Kings.

In Calgary, Prust played mostly with Dustin Boyd and Brian McGrattan and former Ranger Fredrik Sjostrom, who also was traded this week. "He texted me from Toronto and said I'll have a good time . . . Once it starting sinking in, I haven't been more excited to come to a club before."

There were a few familiar faces in the visitors' locker room when Prust arrived after a morning flight from Calgary. "I played with Dan Girardi, we were on the Memorial Cup team [in 2004-05], and I played against Ryan Callahan," he said. "[Michael Del Zotto] is a former Knight, but he's a lot younger than me."

Notes & quotes: The Caps have won 11 in a row, a franchise record . . . Jokinen has seven multi-point games this season. In his career, he is 14-for-35 in shootouts.

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