Classifying it as a “dangerous” check from behind, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety said the onus was on Bellmare to avoid making contact with a player in a prone position. Bellemare was initially assessed a major penalty for checking from behind, and a game misconduct.
“Tracking Orlov for some time, Bellemare has ample time to adjust his angle of approach, minimize the force of the hit or avoid this hit completely,” the DoPS explained. “And while we acknowledge that this hit is made more violent by Orlov losing an edge immediately before contact, the onus here is on Bellemare to not take advantage of a player in a vulnerable position.”
Bellemare will now miss Wednesday’s Game 4 at Wells Fargo, a potential close-out game for the Capitals, who lead the opening-round series 3-0.