NHL Playoffs 2018: Kings' Drew Doughty suspended a game for check to William Carrier's head, calls suspension 'BS'
Vegas' William Carrier was forced to leave about halfway through the third period after taking the check from Doughty
The Golden Knights earned a 1-0 win over the Kings on Wednesday night in a game that set the tone for a physical series, and now we've got our first suspension of the playoffs. Kings' defenseman Drew Doughty will serve a one-game suspension for a hit to the head of Golden Knights' forward William Carrier halfway through the third period, NHL Player Safety announced Thursday.
Doughty spent most of the game getting run through by Carrier, so he took a bit of revenge with a controversial shoulder check that came up a bit high on Carrier in open ice on an odd-man rush. Carrier was shaken up and frustrated after the hit, exchanging barbs with Doughty before leaving the game. Doughty had a player safety hearing on Thursday afternoon before the league announced its decision Thursday night.
The suspension is presumably due to a total neglect of the puck and the lack of effort to pull up. Carrier's penchant for bodying Doughty up all game likely did nothing to support his case either.
It's a brutal blow to an already depleted Kings' defense that had Doughty, a strong candidate for the Norris Trophy, on the ice for nearly half of Wednesday's game (28:02 in icetime). Jake Muzzin and Derek Forbort have already missed time for the Kings.
After the game, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said that Carrier would be day-to-say, adding "I thought it was a bad hit," per Dennis Bernstein.
Doughty took issue with the suspension on Friday. "I don't think for one second that was suspension-worthy... I think it's BS," he said, via the Kings.
Game 2 will be played in Vegas on Friday with a 10 p.m. ET start as the Kings try to bounce back. This won't make it any easier, but the stout defensive performance outside of the first few minutes may provide some semblance of a spark. Now they need to score some goals in order to give themselves and Jonathan Quick a chance, but they also need to stop the potent Vegas goal scorers without another one of their top defensemen.
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