Oilers’ Nurse suspended 1 game for head-butting Kings’ Danault

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The Edmonton Oilers will be missing their top defenseman as they face elimination in Game 6 after the NHL suspended Darnell Nurse one game for head-butting Phillip Danault of the Los Angeles Kings.

With 9.3 seconds to go in the second period of LA’s 5-4 overtime win Tuesday night, Nurse and Danault had a bit of a stick battle in front of the Oilers’ net. After Mike Smith made a save and froze the puck for a faceoff, Nurse drove his helmet into Danault, setting off a post-whistle scrum.

As the suspension video explains, this wasn’t an accidental collision of heads during play. This was Nurse knowing what he was doing and leading with his helmet.

No penalty was called on the play. Danault was not injured.

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Nurse has one goal and one assist through five games and leads the Oilers in average ice time with 21:45.

Nurse’s suspension is the third head-butt-related punishment handed out by the NHL Department of Player Safety this season. In October, Pavel Buchnevich of the St. Louis Blues was suspended two games and Chris Wideman of the Montreal Canadiens sat for one game in January for a similar offense.

The Oilers and Kings play Game 6 on Thursday with Edmonton looking to force a Game 7.

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (LAK leads 3-2)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: May 12, 10 p.m. ET – Oilers at Kings (TBS, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 7: May 14, TBD – Kings at Oilers (TBD)

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.