There are a few areas of a hockey rink that happen to be more dangerous than the others. One of those areas is undoubtedly between the benches. It always has been a bad place to get hit and that's exactly where New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias found himself in the first period with young ruffian Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals bearing down.
Wilson hit Elias right into the glass partition that separates the benches from where the rinkside broadcaster is located. The Devils veteran, who just had finished making a pass before contact, went down in a heap.
Here's the GIF via @myregularface:
Elias ended up leaving the game and his status is not yet known. The hit may have been slightly late, but probably not enough to warrant a penalty despite the results.
It's a tough play as Wilson is expected to finish all of his hits. Elias might have been caught looking down the pass a little as well. Either way, it's wrong place, wrong time and there didn't appear to be any maliciousness from Wilson, though I'm sure there will be differing opinions there.
We've obviously seen a lot worse when it comes to the turnbuckle type hits, but it can be a bit scary anytime it happens, especially when the player's head makes contact with that sturdy partition.
The NHL has gone the way of rounded off glass at the edge of the benches to decrease the instances of turnbuckle hits, but the area between them still has the old partitions, so the danger remains.
This is an important game for both teams as each has an outside shot at making the playoffs. For the Devils to lose a guy like Elias for any amount of time would be a tough blow with only five games left.