Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele should be hearing from the NHL Department of Player Safety after delivering a dirty hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans in the final minute of Wednesday's Game 1.
Evans rounded the Jets' empty net uncontested, tucking the puck into the open cage. Before he could look up and while rendered defenseless, Scheifele dropped him with a crushing blow.
The 25-year-old Canadiens forward was taken off on a stretcher, but provided teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi with a fist bump before leaving the game.
Scheifele was assessed a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.
Here is the play in question, although we don't necessarily advise watching it:
"We've all played this game long enough. (Scheifele) knows better than that. I know him, and I don't want to comment too much, we were told to let the league handle it. We trust that we will, but I don't know," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher told Sportsnet's Scott Oake post-game after Montreal completed its 5-3 victory.
"It’s brutal. Didn’t need to happen, wrong play. He knows better."
Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson was less diplomatic.
"It was a dirty hit, but the league's going to take care of it. If he gets back in the series, we're going to make life miserable for him," Edmundson said of Scheifele, via Sportsnet's Eric Engels.
There isn't any hockey rationale to Scheifele's hit, as Evans had already put the puck in the net and didn't have a chance to see his opponent barrelling in on him. It's going to be extremely difficult for Scheifele to convince anyone, the DoPS more pointedly, that he was making a clean hockey play.
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