Flyers’ Matt Niskanen suspended 1 game for cross-checking

Matt Niskanen Suspension
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The Philadelphia Flyers will not have defenseman Matt Niskanen when they attempt to close out their First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Thursday that Niskanen has been suspended one game for cross-checking Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher during a wild Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Gallagher suffered a broken jaw as a result of the play and will miss the remainder of the series.

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You can see the entire sequence, as well as the Department of Player Safety’s explanation for the suspension in the video below.

Flyers coach Alain Vigneault defended his player on Thursday, saying: “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.”

Wednesday’s game, which the Canadiens won by a 5-3 margin, was especially intense and featured several borderline plays. Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi was ejected for boarding Travis Sanheim in the second period, while Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier leveled Artturi Lehkonen following an empty-net goal at the end of the game.

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
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Montreal at Philadelphia – TBD

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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