Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov could be well on his way to earning the regular season’s first suspension following a dangerous hit from behind on Dallas Stars left winger Curtis McKenzie.
In the second period of Tuesday’s game, McKenzie was turning back to pick up a pass from teammate Jason Demers when Nesterov closed the gap between he and the Stars winger. Upon reaching McKenzie, Nesterov didn’t let up and instead put a shoulder into McKenzie’s back. The result was an awful looking hit that left McKenzie writhing in pain on the ice:
Immediately, McKenzie’s teammates skated to his aid and Tampa Bay and Dallas engaged in a short shoving match that resulted in both the Lightning’s Brian Boyle and Stars’ Travis Moen receiving roughing minors.
For his part in the incident, Nesterov received a five-minute major and game misconduct. It seems like a matter of how many games Nesterov’s suspension, not a matter of if he’ll be suspended at all. However, word on potential supplementary discipline likely won’t come down until Friday morning at the earliest.
The hit came only moments after Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was sent to the dressing room following what appeared to be a head injury following a hit from Stars captain Jamie Benn.