Canadiens' Prust says ref Brad Watson insulted him

MONTREAL (AP) Montreal forward Brandon Prust said referee Brad Watson insulted him repeatedly in the first period after a roughing penalty in the Canadiens' 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

''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 minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

''Said he'd drive me right out of this building,'' Prust said. ''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 he tripped Ben Bishop as the goalie played the puck behind his net. Tampa's Braydon Coburn jumped on Prust and the two dropped their gloves.

''I barely touched him,'' Prust said about 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?,'' Cooper said. ''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 forward 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.

Tampa Bay leads the series 2-0. Game 3 is Wednesday night in Florida.

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