Hedman, Pacioretty forced from game after separate hits

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The Tampa Bay Lightning may have beaten the Vegas Golden Knights, but they appear to have taken a loss on the backend.

The reigning Norris winner was knocked out of Friday’s 3-2 win in Vegas in the second period after a crushing hit from Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves.

It wasn’t the initial hit that stung Hedman, but the force of it sent his body flying awkwardly into the boards.

The Golden Knights loss the game and their prized summer acquisition forward Max Pacioretty.

The forward was forced out of the game in the first period after a hit by Braydon Coburn appeared to catch Pacioretty square on the chin with a high hit.

Neither player returned to the game.

Tampa head coach Jon Cooper told The Athletic’s Joe Smith after the game that he didn’t think Hedman’s injury was long-term. Cooper appeared to rule out a concussion, too.

Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant didn’t have an update on Pacioretty.

“We’ll know more later,” he told NHL.com.

You have to imagine that the Coburn hit will be looked at. It was high and caught the head as the principle point of contact.

The Reaves hit just looked like pure strength on the part of the Vegas forward followed by an unfortunate ending for Hedman. The hit appeared clean and not late, with Reaves just finishing his check.

While both hits will be debated, there’s no debate that both are big losses for their respective teams if they’re forced to miss any time.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck