It was a rough night for Washington’s TJ Oshie. First, he takes a stick between the eyes, under his protective visor. Then he gets taken out of the game by a high hit from Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin was ejected from Wednesday night’s game for a high hit on Oshie early in the third period. The hit came as Malkin entered the Washington zone on a Penguins power play. He released a drop pass to Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and immediately delivered a shoulder to an unsuspecting Oshie.
Oshie walked through the play after the game.
“He got over the blue line and went to make a drop pass and my read was to let him skate by, jump around and go pressure the guy on the blue line there,” Oshie said. “He maybe thought I was coming to hit him and so he threw the reverse shoulder out there, which I try to do that all the time. I did it at least once tonight.”
Malkin was given a match penalty and ejected by referees Wes McCauley and Chris Schlenker.
Oshie was assessed by the Caps’ medical staff, but later returned to the game.
“That’s definitely a blow to the head,” said Capitals coach Todd Reirden. “That’s why we had to have T.J. leave and go through a concussion protocol. Those are things we’re trying to remove from the game.”
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported that Malkin will likely not face supplemental discipline for the hit.
“[The NHL’s Department of Player Safety] felt the in-game punishment was enough, and felt that Malkin was bracing for impact more than delivering head shot,” wrote Wyshysnki. “I disagree with the assessment of the play, as I think Malkin could and should avoid the head there. But I agree that given the context of the hit, and Oshie returning to the game, the penalty and the misconduct is enough.”
Sportnet’s Chris Johnston tweeted a similar message.
“[Malkin] was deemed to be bracing for contact a fraction of a second after releasing the puck,” said Johnston. “Didn’t change angle or hit Oshie with his elbow or stick.”
Oshie, to his credit, capped the game on a positive note. After clearing concussion protocol and returning to the game, he posted the game-winning goal with 1:14 to play.
“He caught me there and it is what it is,” Oshie said. “I passed my concussion test, went out, and won the game.”