When the Western Conference Final begins on Sunday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC) the Vegas Golden Knights will be without forward Ryan Reaves.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Saturday night that Reaves has been suspended one game for an illegal check to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte.
The incident happened late in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 3-0 Game 7 win on Friday night.
Reaves was given a match penalty for the hit. Motte briefly exited the game but returned in the third period to finish.
You can see the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension, right here.
The league points out that the head was the main point of contact on the play, and that even though they accept Reaves’ argument that he did not intend to hit Motte in the head, it still views the contact as avoidable.
The Canucks received a five-minute power play after that hit but were unable to convert.
In 15 postseason games (Round-Robin and the first two rounds of the playoffs) Reaves has zero goals and four assists. He is not going to be a major contributor offensively, but he has become a significant part of their fourth line since joining the team mid-way through its inaugural season. He is a physical presence and a player that is going to try and get under the skin of his opponents, something he did plenty of against the Canucks.
This is the second time in Reaves’ career that he has been suspended.