Panthers Steve Bernier taken to hospital after questionable hit by Wild’s Brent Burns

The Florida Panthers were able to hold off the Minnesota Wild in a hard-fought affair 2-1 tonight in Sunrise, Florida but the story of the game comes after the final whistle had blown.

(Update: Here’s video of the incident from YouTube thanks to HockeyFights)

Panthers forward Steve Bernier was taken to a local hospital after the game with a deep cut on his face after getting into an ugly scrap with Wild defenseman Brent Burns as the game ended. As for what went down, On Frozen Pond’s George Richards has the details.

Bernier was hit in the face by Minnesota’s Brent Burns after play had ended in Florida’s 2-1 win over the Wild at BankAtlantic Center. Burns took the last shot of the game and was shoved by Bernier; Burns took exception, turned and popped Bernier in the face while holding his stick. The butt-end of the stick is what did the damage.

“It’s disrespect for the game,” said Florida defenseman Mike Weaver. “Why do you need that? A player needs to respect another player.”

Said Burns: “I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know. It happened. I said sorry. I just saw he was bleeding there. I didn’t mean to do that. He just came at me, and I think it was my glove got him. I don’t know.”

Burns received five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct at the conclusion of the game for his abuse of Bernier. Bryan Allen of Florida and Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck also received matching minors for roughing. Burns, meanwhile is looking at potential action from the league for his possible butt-end and punch to Bernier’s face. For Minnesota, that would be a tough loss as Burns is easily one of Minnesota’s top players and certainly their most reliable defenseman.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

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These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.