Oilers' Darnell Nurse suspended 1 game for head-butt on Kings' Phillip Danault

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The Edmonton Oilers will be without No. 1 defenceman Darnell Nurse in a must-win Game 6 against the Los Angeles Kings. (Photo by Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Edmonton Oilers will be without No. 1 defenceman Darnell Nurse in a must-win Game 6 against the Los Angeles Kings. (Photo by Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The task has become a little less manageable for the Edmonton Oilers.

After a department of player safety ruling, the Oilers will be without defenceman Darnell Nurse in their do-or-die Game 6 on Thursday night versus the Los Angeles Kings. Nurse has been suspended one game for this head-butt on Kings centre Phillip Danault in Edmonton's overtime loss in Game 5.

It's an incredibly unfortunate situation for Edmonton, but a ruling that's hard to disagree with. This is clearly a non-hockey movement with Nurse propelling the top of his helmet through the jaw of his opponent after a whistle in the second period.

Danault avoided an injury, which surely factored into the ruling, but Nurse wasn't able to spin the situation to avoid sanctioning in his hearing with the safety committee.

Nurse has been suspended in his career once before, accepting a three-game ban in 2016 for "serving as the aggressor" in an incident with Roman Polak.

Nurse leads all Oilers in total usage through five games in the first-round series, contributing a goal, two points, eight shots and an on-ice goal differential of 60 percent.

Danault, meanwhile, has been exasperating from an Edmonton perspective, scoring three times and bagging five total points with a 6-1 five-on-five goal differential.

Edmonton trails the series despite leading 21-15 in total goals. The Kings do lead the series in most other important metrics, however, including edges in total shots and scoring chances.

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