[UPDATE: Niskanen has been suspended one game.]
Brendan Gallagher will miss the remainder of Montreal’s First Round series with Philadelphia after suffering a broken jaw Wednesday night.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin announced that Gallagher will require surgery after being cross-checked in the face by Matt Niskanen in Game 5. No penalty was assessed on the play and the Flyers defenseman had a Thursday phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Ouch 😐 pic.twitter.com/R0lja9mofZ
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) August 20, 2020
Canadiens associate head Kirk Muller said that the team sent video of the incident to the league hoping punishment would be coming for Niskanen.
“The video will definitely explain what they’ll see,” Muller said. “We’re going to leave it with the league and we’ll have confidence that the video will show what it shows.”
Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault saw the cross-check in a different light, calling it a “hockey play.”
“In my estimation, Gallagher got up and seemed fine, he was talking to the referees, the whole time he was on the bench, he was talking to our players for the rest of the game,” Vigneault said. “Gallagher’s a very competitive player, but I don’t think it’s Nisky’s fault he might not be as tall as some of the other guys but he competes as big, if not bigger, than anybody else. It just seemed like a hockey play that unfortunately cut [Gallagher] a little bit.”
That incident was one of several during a heated game. Sean Couturier laid a blindside hit on Artturi Lehkonen after his empty-net goal late in the game and Jesperi Kotkaniemi was ejected in the second period after boarding Travis Sanheim. Neither of those plays resulted in discipline from Player Safety.
No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 8 Montreal Canadiens (PHI leads 3-2)
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Flyers 2, Canadiens 1 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Canadiens 5, Flyers 0 (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 16: Flyers 1, Canadiens 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flyers 2, Canadiens 0 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canadiens 5, Flyers 3 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 21: Philadelphia at Montreal, 7 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Montreal at Philadelphia – TBD
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule
• Second Round matchup scenarios
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.