Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog took out Bruins forward Brad Marchand with an illegal check to the head early in the second period of Thursday night’s game.  

Landeskog’s shoulder connected with Marchand’s head, sending the Boston winger flying.  Referee Chris Rooney’s arm immediately shot up.

Landeskog was given a match penalty on the play for an illegal check to the head. As a result, he was tossed from the game and suspended until the play is reviewed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. His hearing is slated for Friday.

Here are the rules in question:

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.

48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.

From Rule 21: In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue.

That ruling will come later today.

To his credit, the Avs’ captain was apologetic after the hit.

“He is in a vulnerable position,” said Landeskog.  “Right away, I tried to let up, and then I tried to skate up and apologize and tell him I didn’t mean to come across. I feel like principle point of contact was shoulder. I’m happy he didn’t get hurt.”

Not only did Marchand avoid injury, but he popped back up and went after Landeskog. The scrappy Bruins winger sucker-punched an unsuspecting Landeskog, earning himself a two-minute minor for the retaliation.

“Things happen quickly,” said Marchand. “I know that I’ve been there. I’m sure [Landeskog] didn’t mean it. I don’t think he’s a dirty player. It’s hockey. It is what it is.”

Marchand was given a two-minute minor for roughing.  Had Landeskog been injured by the sucker-punch, Marchand could have been facing a match penalty of his own under Rule 46.15, which states:

A match penalty shall be assessed to a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent and causes an injury.

Player Safety is reviewing both Landeskog’s check and Marchand’s retaliatory punch, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin and CSN’s Joe Haggerty. 

We’ll wait and see what Player Safety decides on Friday.