Video: Callahan says Letang ‘turns at the last second’ on boarding major


The NHL’s Department of Player Safety could be busy dealing with multiple incidents that occurred in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The first incident occurred before the game was even three minutes old, as Ryan Callahan slammed Penguins defenseman Kris Letang from behind into the boards, earning a major penalty. The penalty was not accompanied with a game misconduct.

Letang briefly left the game but did return.

“I’m trying to ride him in there obviously on the forecheck, and unfortunately, he turns at the last second. I’m committed, I think, when he turns his head, and his body is pretty low,” Callahan told reporters after the Lightning scored a 3-1 win to take the series opener.

“So, I’m trying to pin him, and in that split second, I can’t really make a decision. Unfortunately, I think the position he was in made it worse than it was, and it was good to see him come back. Obviously, you don’t want to see anybody injured, and that’s not what you’re trying to do.”

Another incident occurred late in the third period, as Lightning forward Ondrej Palat hit Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin from behind into the boards.

Dumoulin left the game and didn’t return, while Palat received a minor penalty for boarding.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t provide an update on Dumoulin, saying he hadn’t yet spoken to the team’s medical staff. But the bench boss was blunt when asked his assessment on both incidents.

“As far as the hits, they’re hits from behind,” he told reporters.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Palat doesn’t expect to face supplemental discipline.

“I went on the forecheck. In my head, I was like, ‘I can’t hit him hard.’ So I kind of backed off and I just pushed him a little bit. Probably, he … I don’t know. Just he went to the boards,” said Palat. “It happened. Yeah. It was a bad penalty.”

Lightning forward Tyler Johnson temporarily left the game before returning midway through the second period after he was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee collision with Chris Kunitz against the boards.

Kunitz went in to deliver the hit, as Johnson tried to get out of the way.

Johnson couldn’t completely avoid the hit, as their knees collided. There was no call on that play.