On the same day that he received a $25,000 fine for criticizing officials, Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice received another grievance.
This time around, Panthers forward Eric Staal was rocked by a devastating kickback from Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson in the first period of Thursday’s game. On top of the injury, Matheson received no penalty for what could easily be considered interference.
Panthers later announced that 38-year-old Staal will not return to the game. Officially, the team described it as an upper body injury.
No penalty but discipline is still given
Matheson escaped punishment in real time, but the NHL still managed to attack him. He was given $5000 fine for intervention on Friday, which is the maximum allowable under the collective agreement.
Matheson, 28, has received one suspension in his NHL career. Back in 2018the league suspended him for two games for pushing Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson onto the ice.
Eric Staal fights to save NHL career
In a long NHL career of 1,333 regular season games and 83 playoff games, Staal suffered at least one concussion. Back in 2017, he suffered such an injury, crashing his head into the sides.
Despite winning the Stanley Cup, playing six All-Star Games and several 40-goal seasons, Staal was willing to work hard to keep his NHL career going. He did not play in the league at all in the 2021/22 season, instead captaining Team Canada. at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Only after impression on the training camp at the PTO Staal has secured a spot with the Panthers this season.
Despite a frustrating season for Florida, it’s nonetheless impressive that Staal managed 40 games, scoring seven goals and seven assists for 14 points. Ideally, the veteran forward will bounce back from Matheson’s hard hit.
And, ideally for Maurice’s wallet, he will miss this alleged missed call.
Sergei Bobrovsky was also injured in the Panthers’ penalty win
By and large, missed calls weren’t a problem in this game, and Staal isn’t necessarily the most serious injury.
At the start of an eventual 6-2 victory for the Panthers, Sergei Bobrovsky tweaked a few things during regular play. It’s unclear how serious the problem could be, but Bobrovsky didn’t return:
In the absence of Bobrovsky, Alex Lyon made 23 saves out of 25, including this sprawling beauty:
The big picture, it was a penalty deal, even outside of Matthew Tkachuk. fight to avenge Staal.
The Panthers scored four powerplay goals in eight chances while the Canadiens failed to convert five of their own. Florida scored all four powerplay goals in the second period, setting a franchise record and making life easier for Lyon.
In their last four games, the Panthers have scored at least four goals and won three, giving hope for a playoff berth.
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