Flyers’ Matt Niskanen Suspended For One Game After Hitting Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher In Jaw During Game 5

TSNScreencap: TSN

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Thursday evening that Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen has been suspended for Game 6 of the first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series after cross-checking Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher in the jaw during Game 5 on Wednesday.

After Gallagher retrieves the puck along the boards, Niskanen chases him and cross-checks him in the jaw with 5:08 left in the third period. There was not a penalty on the play.

The Canadiens announced on Thursday that Gallagher will not be available for the remainder of the first round due to a broken jaw. He will also have to go outside of the Eastern Conference bubble in Toronto to undergo surgery.

Just before the regular season ended on March 12, the 33-year-old was fined the maximum $5,000 allowable under the CBA for slashing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist on February 20. Though, Niskanen, who recorded eight goals, 33 points, and a +15 rating in 68 regular-season games in his first season with the Flyers, has never been suspended in his 949-game NHL career.

Losing Niskanen would be a big blow to the top-seed in the Eastern Conference. He is arguably their most reliable shut down defenseman and helped defenseman Ivan Provorov immensely this season as he went from a -16 rating last season to a +11 this year. Niskanen was acquired from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas on June 14, 2019, after spending five seasons with the Capitals.

Niskanen has a +2 rating and averaged 22:04 per game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, second on the team behind Provorov (25:18), including 2:56 on the penalty kill.

The Canadiens won Game 5 by a score of 5-3 but the Flyers still lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 set for Friday night at Scotiabank Arena (7 PM ET, NBCSN).

By Harrison Brown

 

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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