In a penalty-filled game between New Jersey and Vancouver, Devils defenseman Adam Larsson found himself heading for an early shower after being hit with a major penalty and game misconduct stemming from an interference penalty he took on Canucks rookie Jared McCann.
Larsson’s interference major came midway through the third period with the Devils and Canucks tied at three. McCann was swooping around the net after a loose puck when Larsson lined him up, and a second after McCann had pushed the puck forwards with a poke, Larsson ran through him with a thunderous hit:
(Video via SomeHockeyVideos)
The hit left McCann down on the ice for a brief moment, and it appeared as if he was nursing his shoulder at first. However, McCann got up and was able to continue, though he only took one shift in regulation following the hit. He did take a 50-second shift in the overtime period, though.
Post-game, NJ.com’s Rich Chere reported Devils players and coach John Hynes talked about the hit, but none believed Larsson's check would warrant a suspension.
"That's something that happens in the game in the heat of battle and the refs have to do their job," Hynes told Chere. “For our team and for Lars I was just trying to get a clear-cut explanation on why the reaction was so severe. It’s a difficult play for referees to call in motion, but our perception was that it was a fair play.”
Goaltender Keith Kinkaid added that were it not for McCann being winded on the hit, Larsson wouldn’t have been whistled and he certainly wouldn’t have been kicked out of the game.
"I didn't think it was a bad hit,” Kinkaid said. “He just lost his breath. If he doesn't go down, there is no penalty at all.”
More than anything, though, it was likely an attempt by the referees to get the game back under control. In the second period, there were 52 minutes in penalties handed out, including four fighting majors. The Devils would kill the major penalty without incident, and go on to win the game in overtime thanks to power play goal from Kyle Palmieri.