Dmitry Kulikov injured Tyler Seguin with a low bridge hit that left the league’s third-leading scorer unable to get up. Was a game misconduct enough, or does Kulikov deserve supplemental discipline?
The play happened in the third period of a game between the Stars and Panthers with 6:55 left on the clock and Seguin’s Stars ahead 2-0.
Seguin had just entered the Panthers zone and passed the puck away when Kulikov ducked low and took out Seguin’s legs in the middle of the ice. Seguin went toppling over Kulikov and couldn’t get back to his feet. He had to be helped to the dressing room.
See it for yourself.
Kulikov was assessed a five-minute major for clipping and a game misconduct.
There’s no doubt it was a dirty hit. Seguin was coming through open ice and had just passed the puck off. Even if he still had the puck, and even if he’d seen Kulikov coming, there would have been no avoiding that low, sweeping hit.
Kulikov’s hands were brushing the ice as he came across to deliver the blow.
As it happened, Seguin was oriented slightly to toward the Panthers’ left corner, while Kulikov came across from the right.
Seguin never saw him coming.
Seguin’s team won the game but could be without its leading scorer for its last, desperate push for a playoff spot.
Seguin is fourth in the league in goals (29) and third in points (59). He also leads his team in both categories.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff called the hit “a shot that didn’t need to happen” after the game. He added Seguin’s injury will be re-evaluated on Saturday but he is expected to miss some time.
It was a costly win for Dallas, and not just because Seguin went down. Patrick Eaves took a puck to the head off the stick of teammate John Klingberg, and Ales Hemsky left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Hemsky is not expected to travel with the team to Colorado on Saturday.
Dallas is tied with Los Angeles for 60 points, three points back of the Calgary Flames for the final wild card spot in the West. Minnesota is also in there with 61 points.
Kulikov’s Panthers are also on the cusp of the playoffs. They sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for the last wild card position in the East.
Kulikov is fourth on his team in average ice time this season at 21:50.
The 24-year-old has no history of suspensions, but that should change after this hit.