Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk has been suspended two games for a high-stick on Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Tkachuk jabbed the Kings goaltender in the mask with 37.9 seconds remaining in the third period of Saturday’s game. The Panthers, trailing 5-4, had an empty net after pulling the goaltender for an extra skater. The goaltender stopped the puck and covered with Tkachuk looking for a deflection in front. As the whistle sounded, Tkachuk turned his stick and jabbed it through the goalie’s mask.
Quick was evaluated by the team’s medical staff but remained in the game.
No penalty was assessed on the play, which is not eligible for video review.
The goalkeeper exacted a bit of retribution after making he final save of the game, going after Tkachuk when the two came together in the crease. Tkachuk was given a minor for goaltender interference and a ten-minute misconduct.
Tkachuk caused a Panthers goal to be disallowed earlier in the game when the NHL’s Situation Room ruled that he has interfered with Quick prior to the goal being scored.
Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan discussed Tkachuk’s style of play after the game .
“It’s what he does. It makes him a good player. Makes him a villain,” said McLellan. “Do we like the poke in [Quick’s] facemask? Of course we don’t. But I don’t think it’s anything that we can deal with now. Other people have to look at it.”
Those other people? The NHL’s Department of Player Safety. They have, indeed, looked at it, and handed down their ruling: two games.
We’re glad to see multiple games for this, though we would’ve gone more. There’s always an opportunity for the league to come down a bit harder on plays after the whistle or away from the puck, where there’s no hockey play to be made — only an intentional attempt to injure. The only possible outcome Tkachuk was going for was to antagonize an opponent and cause a possible career-threatening injury.
The former Flame has been suspended three times in his 443-game NHL career – twice for stickwork.
He sat for two games during his rookie season for elbowing Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. The following season, he served two one-game suspensions for unsportsmanlike conduct; one against Detroit for a slash on an opposing player after being ejected for spearing, and one for spearing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin from the bench.
Tkachuk was also fined $5000 for high-sticking Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg in 2021.
Officials for the game were referees Pierre Lambert (#37) and Francois St. Laurent (#8) with linesmen Caleb Apperson (#77) and Ryan Gibbons (#58).