The NHL playoffs are just underway, and they’ve already led to suspensions for Nazem Kadri and Drew Doughty. Another one might be forthcoming to Anaheim Ducks’ forward Corey Perry following a controversial hit on San Jose Sharks’ forward Melker Karlsson Saturday night. With just under four minutes left in the game and the Ducks trailing 3-2, Perry came flying in and hit Karlsson from behind while he wasn’t in possession of the puck, sending his helmet flying and knocking him to the ice:
Now, as this replay shows, Karlsson was previously digging for the puck along the boards, even if he didn’t come away with it. So that might help Perry’s case to avoid suspension a bit. But this was still a heavy hit from behind on someone not in possession of the puck, a hit that seemed to make contact with the opponent’s head first, and it led to an interference penalty:
That wound up being costly for the Ducks, as they had to spend two of the game’s final minutes killing the penalty instead of pressing for the equalizer. And they weren’t able to come up with a tying goal even after that, so Perry’s penalty here unquestionably cost his team. The question is if it will lead to a suspension for him.
Perry does have a history of some past actions that have earned suspensions, including a four-game suspension for elbowing in 2009 and a four-game suspension for an illegal hit in 2013, and history does often factor into these decisions. And this one certainly didn’t look good. Even if Perry doesn’t pick up a further suspension, though, this kind of play doesn’t help his team, especially when it put them on the penalty kill so late in the contest.