The Philadelphia Flyers will be facing elimination on Tuesday night and they found out on Monday they're going to be without their best player, Claude Giroux.
The NHL has suspended Giroux one game for his hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus late in the second period of their Game 4 loss on Sunday.
NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan said: "After pulling even with Zubrus on the backcheck, Giroux chops down across Zubrus' stick, and then well after the puck has been chipped into the corner, Giroux comes across Zubrus' body and drives upward with his shoulder making principle point of contact with Zubrus' head. This is a violation of the illegal check to the head rule."
Shanahan also refered to the hit as "late and reckless," and also points out that Zubrus did not significantly change the position of his head before Giroux hit him. There was also special attention given to the fact that Giroux was visably upset after he was hit earlier in the shift and made an effort to turn around and yell at the official as the puck went the other direction.
The fact Zubrus was able to return to the game and did not appear to suffer an injury, combined with Giroux having no previous record when it comes to discipline, probably kept the suspension at only one game.
Giroux has a league-leading 17 points this postseason and had a hand in both Flyers goals on Sunday, scoring a shorthanded goal and assisting on Scott Hartnell's power play tally in the first period. The Flyers have been overwhelmed by the Devils' forecheck the past three games and have yet to find an answer for it. It's going to be even more difficult in Game 5 without the services of Giroux.
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