Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen is $1,000 poorer after taking a page from Mr. Miyagi’s playbook and sweeping the leg on Tampa’s JT Miller during Thursday night’s game.

With his team already two men shorthanded thanks to a pair of penalties on Evgeny Malkin and Phil Kessel, Cullen pushed out the Miller’s left skate, sending him sprawling to the ice. Referee Furman South spotted the infraction and sent Cullen to the box.

“I’ve never seen that,” Hornqvist said of the three penalties called in quick succession.

Tampa’s Brayden Point scored three times on the ensuing power play – once for each penalty assessed – earning a natural hat trick. Point also entered the NHL record books for scoring the sixth-fastest natural hat trick in league history. Only one player post-expansion (’67-’68) has scored a hat trick faster – Derek King of the New York Islanders posted three in 78 seconds in 1991 — also against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“You can’t give up that many goals on the penalty kill,” said Cullen. “We have to improve a lot.”


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Joe Starkey weighed in on the officiating:

Referees Furman South and Garrett Rank were a bit overzealous. I’ll grant you that. But the game changed when Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cullen took three legit minors in 10 seconds near the end of the first period. That led to Brayden Point scoring a natural hat trick in a minute and a half, spilling into the second period.

“There were a couple (of the nine penalties) that I thought were preventable,” Sullivan said.

From the NHL:

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen has been fined $1,000 for a dangerous trip against Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Miller during NHL Game No. 279 in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Nov. 15, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 19:47 of the first period. Cullen was assessed a minor penalty for tripping.

The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Cullen, 42, is in his 21st NHL season, having scored 260 goals and 454 assists over 1,462 games with the Ducks, Hurricanes, Wild, Panthers, Predators, Rangers, Senators, and Penguins.

He recently made headlines for his comments on the arbitrator’s decision to reduce a suspension to Washington’s Tom Wilson from 20 games to 14.

“I don’t think it’s a good look for our league, for our game to need to go to appeals,” Cullen said. “You’d like the headlines to be about the play on the ice and the players, not the other (stuff) going on outside of the game.

“I think most guys probably don’t love that – that it got reduced in that manner as far as going to appeal after appeal.”

Safe to assume that Cullen won’t be appealing his fine.