NEW YORK — The NHL suspended Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman 20 games Wednesday for cross-checking a linesman, the second-longest ban in league history for abusing an official.
Wideman was cited for violating the league rule on physical abuse of officials for knocking down linesman Don Henderson during a game against Nashville on Jan. 27. In a video explaining the suspension, the league said Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion after the game but said being disoriented as a result of a hit was no excuse for "the nature and severity of the offense."
Only the Lightning's Gordie Dwyer, who was suspended 23 games in part for abuse of officials during an exhibition game in 2000, was suspended longer for such a violation.
Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke disagreed with the league's assessment of the hit and the length of the suspension. The Players Association appealed the ban on Wideman's behalf.
Game highlights: The Sabres scored three times in the third period to send the host Canadiens to their 21st loss in their past 26 games, 4-2.
First—1, Buffalo, Foligno 4 (Girgensons, Franson), 5:10. Penalties—Buffalo bench, served by Deslauriers (too many men), 9:00.
Second—2, Montreal, Weise 12 (Pacioretty, Subban), 3:19 (pp). 3, Montreal, Galchenyuk 12 (Plekanec), 11:04. Penalties—Larsson, Buf (hooking), 2:11; Plekanec, Mon (hooking), 4:08; Fleischmann, Mon (slashing), 15:02.
Third—4, Buffalo, McGinn 11 (Ristolainen, Eichel), 7:34 (pp). 5, Buffalo, Larsson 2 (McCabe, Franson), 11:46. 6, Buffalo, Gionta 7 (R.O'Reilly, Kane), 19:47 (en). Penalties—Gilbert, Mon (tripping), 7:00. Shots on Goal—Buffalo 11-10-11—32. Montreal 12-9-14—35. Power-play opportunities—Buffalo 1 of 3; Montreal 1 of 2. Goalies—Buffalo, Lehner 2-3-0 (35 shots-33 saves). Montreal, Condon 13-15-4 (31-28).