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Lightning’s Erik Cernak suspended for two games

The defenseman, a first-time offender, left Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin with a concussion after an elbow to the face.
The Lightning's Erik Cernak skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 19 in St. Louis.
The Lightning's Erik Cernak skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 19 in St. Louis. [ JEFF ROBERSON | AP ]
Published Nov. 26, 2019
Updated Nov. 27, 2019

The Lightning will be without Erik Cernak for two games. The defenseman was suspended after elbowing Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in Monday’s 5-2 victory.

Cernak will miss Wednesday night’s game against the Blues at Amalie Arena and Friday’s against the Capitals in Washington. He will be eligible to return for Saturday’s home game against the Hurricanes.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: Where is the team at the season's quarter mark?

While Buffalo was on a power play Monday, Cernak leaned in to make a play on the puck. To keep Dahlin from getting around him, Cernak tried to make a play on the defenseman as well. He reached up with an elbow and made direct contact with Dahlin’s face.

Dahlin immediately fell to the ice, dropped his gloves and stick, and left the game. Cernak wasn’t penalized in the game.

Cernak was suspended after a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Tuesday.

“While we acknowledge the Lightning’s argument that they believe Dahlin’s glove drove Cernak’s elbow upward and caused the head contact on the play, we disagree,” the department’s video explaining the ban says.

Dahlin’s glove does make contact but not enough to redirect Cernak’s elbow. Cernak’s arm is already directed at Dahlin’s head.

Cernak has no history of being fined or suspended. He will forfeit $7,500 under the CBA.