The Florida Panthers will be without forward Sam Bennett for Game 2 of their First Round playoff series on Tuesday night.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Monday afternoon that Bennett will be suspended one game for boarding Tampa Bay Lightning forward Blake Coleman during Game 1 on Sunday night. The Lightning won the game 5-4 on a Brayden Point goal in the final minute of the third period.
Bennett was given a two-minute minor for boarding on the play.
In the DoPS video explaining the suspension (which you can see in the video posted above), it is pointed out that Bennett not only traveled a significant distance across the ice, he also saw nothing but Coleman’s numbers the entire time and still drove through him with a forceful check into the wall. They also point out that even though Coleman does turn his back, he does not do say in an abrupt way that would turn a legal check into a penalty. The onus is on Bennett to adjust, avoid the hit entirely, or minimize its force. He did not.
In other words: Bennett had time to adjust, and chose not to do that. That is why he is being suspended.
His absence will be significant for the Panthers because he has been a huge addition to the lineup since being acquired from the Calgary Flames at the NHL trade deadline. He recorded six goals and nine assists (15 total points) in 10 regular season games with the Panthers and also had two assists in Game 1 on Sunday night.
Sunday’s game was extremely intense and physical for all 60 minutes, setting the tone for what should be the most chaotic series of the First Round.