Say what you will for a big open-ice hit or beautifully thrown hip check, it’s hard to beat a jolt that sends a player flipping over the boards and into the bench. And because of that, during Tuesday’s contest between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars, AHL call-up Chris Wagner produced one of the most fun hits of the season thus far.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period and the score tied 3-3, Anaheim’s Wagner lined up Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak and levelled him with a hit that sent Stars blueliner for an involuntary line change:
The best part about a bench-flipping hit is the player delivering the check almost always gives one final shove for good measure — you know, to make sure the opponent is all the way in there. Wagner, who was called up Monday, did just that and likely won himself some fans for his hit, too.
It may be hard to believe considering the end result of Wagner’s hit, but the Ducks center gave up seven inches and nearly 50 pounds to the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Oleksiak. Flipping him into the bench was no easy task, but Wagner did it with relative ease. It certainly doesn't help Oleksiak much that his hips are almost at board level, though.
One must-watch part of this clip are the expressions from Oleksiak's teammates. Vernon Fiddler wants nothing to do with the hit, Jordie Benn looks confused and we're not exactly sure what's up with the face John Klingberg is making, but it's hilarious.
The hit would be the final bright spot of the game for the Ducks, however. Leading 3-0 after the first period, Anaheim surrendered Dallas to answer back with three markers in the second frame before the Stars’ Antoine Roussel scored the game-winning goal with 1:28 remaining in the contest. Anaheim has now lost four straight and eight of their first nine contests.