Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was suspended two games for cross-checking Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone in Game 3 of the Western Conference final, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday.
Benn and Stone got tangled in the neutral zone less than two minutes in to Vegas's 4-0 win in Game 3. With Stone in a vulnerable position lying on the ice, Benn threw a pretty nasty cross-check to his opponent's head and neck area.
What is Jamie Benn doing here? Dirty play. 5-minute major & a game misconduct is the right call. pic.twitter.com/5ycSZsmnfx
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) May 24, 2023
Benn was assessed a five-minute major penalty and was ejected from the game for the play, while Stone seemed to avoid injury and remained in the contest.
The Golden Knights would go on to blow out the Stars to claim a stranglehold 3-0 series lead in the series
Vegas head coach Bruce Cassidy, while upset with the dirty play, was satisfied with his team's response. Ivan Barbashev scored on the five-minute power play to put the Golden Knights up 2-0 early in the contest. They would head into the first intermission up 3-0.
"We’re upset when we see that," Cassidy said. "He's our captain. But at the end of the day, they make a call that gives us a chance to make them pay for that penalty."
Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault was appalled by Benn's actions, citing a slash teammate Alex Pietrangelo was suspended one game for during their second-round series against the Edmonton Oilers.
"They told [Pietrangelo] that he didn't make a hockey play against the Oilers, so I think it's one of those," Marchessault told ESPN's Emily Kaplan. "It's pretty disgusting, he leans on top of him and gives it to him on his head. We wanted to get one on the power play to make them pay, and we executed."
Stars head coach Pete DeBoer told reporters post-game that his star forward regretted his actions.
"Let’s put it this way. He made a mistake. He feels really badly about it. I don’t think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it," DeBoer said.
Benn addressed the media on Wednesday to talk about the play.
“Obviously didn't want to take a 5-minute penalty, but when the game happens fast, emotions are high. Obviously I would've liked to not fall on him and I guess use my stick as the landing point.”
Benn was fined in back-to-back games last postseason, coughing up a total of $10,000 for tripping and high-sticking incidents in a series against the Los Angeles Kings.