New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen was forced to exit Wednesday night’s playoff game early. He after took a pretty big shot to the head, courtesy of Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov.
The Lightning would go on to win the game, improving their series lead to three games to one. The real question following the hit is whether or not the NHL will suspend Kucherov for it.
The hit was up high and did appear to catch Vatanen in the side of the head. He was forced to leave the game, something the NHL will take into consideration.
Not everyone thinks it’s a dirty hit, Lightning coach, Jon Cooper, didn’t see anything wrong with it.
#TBLightning coach Jon Cooper on Kucherov hit "it was a heckuva' hockey hit…to me it was a good hit"
— Jim Cerny (@JimCerny) April 19, 2018
That being said, Kucherov could very well face a suspension. But I wouldn’t expect it to be more than a game if he does.