Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen won’t be on the ice for Game 6 Friday night after the NHL suspended him following a bad hit on Montrea
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen won’t be on the ice for Game 6 Friday night after the NHL suspended him following a bad hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher that left him with a broken jaw.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced the suspension on Thursday after reviewing Niskanen’s cross-check on Gallagher that came as the Habs, on the cusp of elimination, were leading 4-3 with just 5:13 minutes left in the third period.
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The light suspension is likely a result of the intent of the hit (which the league said was meant to be an upper-body check) and Niskanen’s history. He has only been fined once in 949 games.
If Montreal survives Game 6, Gallagher won’t be back as his injury will require surgery, ESPN reported.
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Flyers coach Alain Vigneault defended the hit on Thursday saying Gallagher “seemed fine” and that his size may have played a role in where the hit landed.
“In my estimation, Gallagher got up and seemed fine. He was talking to the referees. The whole time that he was on the bench, he was talking to our players for the rest of the game,” he said.
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“Gallagher is a very competitive player, but I don’t think it’s Nisky’s fault. [Gallagher] might not be as tall as the other guys, but he competes as big if not bigger than anybody else.”
The Flyers lead the series 3-2.