Leafs' Kadri could face suspension for high hit


After watching DeBrusk chase down Toronto's Patrick Marleau and slam the 39-year-old into the curved glass at the end of the bench, Kadri unleashed a vicious cross-check to DeBrusk's face, resulting in a major penalty and game misconduct.

Kadri did not speak with the media following Saturday's game, a 4-1 Bruins victory to even the series at 1-1.

Hits were flying, the referees largely put their whistles away and it got ugly late, especially from a Toronto perspective, after Nazem Kadri levelled Jake DeBrusk with a vicious cross-check to the face with six minutes left in the third.

The Bruins' top line racked up 20 points over the first two games of last year's first-round matchup with Toronto, and remain key to the club's chances of advancing to the second round and paying out as reduced -120 favorites on the National Hockey League playoff series prices. This would be the fifth time in his career that he's been suspended for an illegal check and the eighth time he's faced discipline from the league - he's been fined three times.

Inserted into the lineup after getting healthy scratched for Game 1, veteran winger David Backes was first to a loose puck behind Toronto's net before feeding Coyle in front to bury a shot past Frederik Andersen, who was terrific in making 37 saves, for a 1-0 lead just 4:44 in.

Since the hit, I've seen a lot of silly whataboutisms on Twitter.

DeBrusk said postgame he underwent a series of tests after leaving the game and is waiting for the results before he learns if he can play Monday in Game 3.

Some will argue that Debrusk made knee-to-knee contact with Kadri earlier in the game.

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If Kadri is unavailable for Game 3, Toronto coach Mike Babcock said he will play either William Nylander or Marleau in Kadri's slot as the team's third-line center.

The NHL Department of Player Safety has offered Kadri an in-person hearing for the hit. None of them offered positive news for Kadri and the Leafs. The Maple Leafs went on to lose that series in seven games.

After the hit on Wingels in last year's playoffs, Kadri spoke to reporters and defended the play.

Kadri's hit on DeBrusk could be seen as retaliatory. "I was already committed to the hit", Kadri said at the time. After Kadri got out of the box for another minor - this time for hooking Brad Marchand - he collided knee-on-knee with Debrusk while cutting through the offensive zone.

"They came out, they played well, and they do that every single time", Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said.

Said Cassidy: "I thought it was clean". Kadri stayed down for a moment before heading straight to the locker room. Looking back on it, shoulder to shoulder.

To the surprise of some, Kadri returned for the third period.