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2 hits by Oilers see Barkov injured, Foegele tossed

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Published in Hockey
Tuesday, 11 June 2024 01:20

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov left Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night because of an upper body injury after an illegal check from Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl.

It was one of two controversial hits in the game by the Oilers, with forward Warren Foegele earning a major penalty and a game misconduct for his knee-on-knee hit on Eetu Luostarinen in the first period.

Panthers coach Paul Maurice offered no update on Barkov, only to say that his star center was unavailable for the last 9:28 of Game 2, which the Panthers won 4-1 to take a 2-0 series lead.

With the Panthers leading 2-1, Barkov played the puck in his defensive zone. Draisaitl came in on the forecheck and left his skates, and his elbow contacted Barkov's jaw. The Florida captain fell to the ice, was tended to by medical staff and then left for the trainers room.

"I think he went in there to hit. His hands got up a little bit high. He was trying to knock him off the puck, and that led to the penalty," Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said.

Draisaitl was given a two-minute penalty for roughing. When asked about his feelings on the hit, Maurice said: "This isn't 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.' My feelings don't matter."

Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues scored his second goal of the game on the ensuing power play to make it 3-1. The goal ended a streak of 34 straight successful penalty kills for the Oilers, tied with the 2001 Blues for the third-longest streak in Stanley Cup playoffs history.

The Panthers were concerned for their captain but kept their composure.

"I think we rallied. We did what we had to do to win the game," Rodrigues said. "You never want to see your captain go down, but I thought everyone did a great job focusing and got the job done."

Forward Kyle Okposo echoed that.

"Obviously you don't want to see anybody get hurt, but I thought we did a good job sticking with it and we found a way. It was a huge goal by Roddy there to break the dam on the power play there, and I just thought we did a great job in the third period after that."

At 9:21 of the first period, Foegele was given a five-minute major penalty for kneeing Luostarinen, who remained flat on the ice and got medical attention while the referees discussed the call. A short video review confirmed it. According to NHL rule No. 50.5: "When a player has been assessed a major penalty for kneeing, he shall also be assessed a game misconduct," so Foegele was ejected.

Luostarinen skated off with athletic trainers and went down the tunnel but returned to the ice in the first period and ended up playing 14:19 for the game.

"This isn't 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.' My feelings don't matter."
Panthers coach Paul Maurice when asked his feelings on the hit to Aleksander Barkov

Knoblauch declined to discuss whether he was concerned that Foegele, Draisail or both could end up receiving supplemental discipline from the NHL's Department of Player Safety, which reviews every controversial hit.

But the Edmonton coach did say that Foegele's hit on Luostarinen was similar to a hit by Sam Bennett on Edmonton defenseman Evan Bouchard earlier in the game, one that earned only a minor penalty for tripping.

"It's tough. I don't see any difference on the Sam Bennett penalty. You're going to hit a guy and then the guy moves out of the way. It's pretty tough to change where your feet are. My opinion and their opinion would be a lot different, but I don't see very much difference in those two plays," Knoblauch said. "I see Bouchard got up right away. Their guy didn't get up right away, which I think ... yeah, so that's what I think."

Game 3 is Thursday in Edmonton. Since the Stanley Cup Final went to a seven-game format in 1939, only five teams have come back to win the Cup after losing the first two games.

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