The season is beginning to wind down, and tensions are starting to heat up. Two players from Eastern Conference teams fighting for the playoffs were served with a suspension, and the Blues lost their leading goal-scorer for the next several days. Here are the latest NHL news and notes.
Voracek suspended two games
Flyers forward Jakub Voracek was suspended for two games on Sunday following his hit on Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk. The NHL Players Association filed an appeal on his behalf, but it was denied.
In the third period of the Flyers’ 5-2 win over the Islanders on Saturday, Voracek leaned in as Boychuk was pinching in the offensive zone, leading to a collision. Boychuk collapsed and had to be helped off the ice. He has been diagnosed with a concussion. Voracek received a five-minute major for interference, with the suspension coming the next day.
This is the first suspension or fine of Voracek’s career. The 29-year-old winger has 18 goals and 61 points in 66 games for Philadelphia. The Flyers beat the Senators on Monday without Voracek and will play without him Thursday against the Capitals.
Eichel banned two games
Sabres forward Jack Eichel was also handed a two-game suspension on Sunday, one day after giving an illegal check to the head of Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg.
Eichel was assessed a minor penalty for the illegal check in the second period of Buffalo’s 3-0 loss to Colorado. Although Eichel strongly disagreed with the decision, the NHL ruled he cut sharply into Soderberg to initiate the contact. The suspension will cost him $107,527.
The 22-year-old All-Star has 25 goals and 47 assists in 65 games this season. The Sabres will play without their star on Tuesday against the Stars and Thursday against the Penguins.
Tarasenko out with injury
The Blues’ leading goal-scorer, Vladimir Tarasenko, will be on the shelf for at least 10 days due to an upper-body injury. He will be reevaluated after that time period.
Tarasenko’s injury came during Thursday’s 4-0 shutout victory over the Kings. Although St. Louis has not provided any further information regarding what the injury is or when in the game it occurred, several media outlets speculated that it has to do with his elbow.
The Blues will miss Tarasenko, who has 28 goals and 58 points, in the short-term. With 14 games to go, they are five points ahead of the Wild, who own the second Wild Card spot. The Blues will play four games before Tarasenko is expected to be re-evaluated.
There are some good matchups across the league on Tuesday, highlighted by the classic Capitals-Penguins rivalry. Other notable games include the Bruins at Blue Jackets and Sharks at Jets.