(UPDATE: Barbashev has been suspended one game.)
The St. Louis Blues have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in Game 6 on Sunday, but they may have to do that without forward Ivan Barbashev.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Barbashev will have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Bruins forward Marcus Johansson. The incident occurred early in the first period deep in the Blues zone.
Barbashev didn’t get called for a penalty on the play, but the Bruins went to the power play moments later when Vince Dunn flipped the puck over the glass.
Here’s the play in question:
“Those are the hits they want to get out of the game, correct? That’s what I hear a lot about,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after Game 5. “Clearly, they missed a couple tonight. It’s a fast game. I sat here two days ago or whatever it was and said I believe these officials are at this level because they’ve earned the right to be here. You should be getting the best. But, I mean, the narrative changed after Game 3. There’s a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition. It just seems to have changed everything.”
Barbashev has picked up three goals and three assists in 24 games this postseason. He’s also averaging just over 12 minutes of ice time during the playoffs, but he’s been an important part of their effective fourth line. Losing him wouldn’t be crushing, but it would hurt their overall depth.
Of course, this wasn’t the only controversial non-call from Game 5, as a Tyler Bozak trip went uncalled moments before David Perron scored a goal that put the Blues ahead 2-0 at the time. That Perron tally ended up being the game-winner.
Game 6 is set for Sunday night.