The New York Islanders beat Tampa Bay 5-3 to get back in this series. At the end, it got chippy after a dirty play from Nikita Kucherov.
It’s the Eastern Conference Final. A chippy series is expected, and the New York Islanders are built for that with their grit. But there’s a fine line between chippy and dirty and we’ve crossed that line three games in.
In Game 2, Brock Nelson took a dirty hit from Alex Killorn who got ejected and missed Game 3 due to suspension. That wasn’t the only one in that game. Barclay Goodrow cross-checked Nelson in the back of the head.
There was no call or no suspension. A joke from the NHL, a league that “cares” for player safety. Anyway, tonight there was yet another example of a dirty play, this time from Nikita Kucherov.
JG Pageau was going in on a breakaway to an empty-net goal. I have no issue with Kucherov backchecking hard trying to catch up but at the last second taking a monster swing at Pageau’s knee is a scumbag move.
The sad part is, Kucherov is an extremely talented player and a star in this league there’s no reason for him to stoop to that level. It’s inexcusable.
Pageau immediately took issue with the hit and then Matt Martin took care of business against Barclay Goodrow dropping the gloves before the final whistle.
With Game 4 on Sunday, the refs have to do a good job to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand because right now we have three examples of dirty plays from the Tampa Bay Lightning and just one penalty called.
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I don’t expect Kucherov to get suspended, but the least they could do is police the ice so the players don’t have to.