On Thursday, the NHL’s Department of Player of Safety had a hearing with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn. Due to his first period hit in Game Two on Brock Nelson, Killorn has been suspended for one game.
#TBLightning's Killorn gets a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct after his blind hit on #Isles' Nelson, who stays down before eventually heading down the tunnel. #TBLvsNYI pic.twitter.com/ekgevkLOs3— (wears a mask) (@faiello_mari) September 10, 2020
This marks two seasons in a row where a Lightning player has stepped over the boundaries of what is permissible on the ice. Last year Nikita Kucherov was suspended one game for his over-the-top boarding of Columbus Blue Jacket Markus Nutivaara.
Per the video released by the league Killorn was suspended because:
“What causes this play to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is the angle of approach Killorn takes and the fact that the puck has been gone for some time when the hit is initiated. Both of which make Nelson particularly defenseless.”
Killorn is the fourth player suspended by the league this postseason. Previously Drake Caggiula, Matt Niskanen, and Ryan Reaves have all missed a game due to their transgressions.
There is one thing that differentiates Killorn’s illegal play from the other three. Killorn’s hit is the only one that didn’t involve a direct hit to the head. Caggiula clipped Tyler Ennis’ head with his shoulder, Niskanen tried to drive his stick through Brandon Gallagher’s jaw, and Ryan Reaves took out Tyler Motte with a shoulder to the face.
Coach Jon Cooper is now faced with possibly replacing two players from one line. If Brayden Point isn’t able to play due to the unknown injury suffered in Game Two, Anthony Cirelli is most likely to replace him on the top line. Killorn’s suspension leaves Tyler Johnson as the only remaining player from the second line. It could be a chance for the coach to rotate Michell Stephens and Carter Verhaeghe back into the line-up. Mathieu Joseph and Alexander Volkov are the other options at forward. Both of those players have yet to see action in the playoffs.