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No additional discipline for Lightning forward Ondrej Palat

Notebook | Palat was penalized for an illegal hit to the head in Game 5. Also, Andrei Vasilevskiy receives high praise.
Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat heads to the penalty box after a hit on Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce during the third period in Game 5 Tuesday night.
Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat heads to the penalty box after a hit on Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce during the third period in Game 5 Tuesday night. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 9
Updated Jun. 9

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lightning forward Ondrej Palat will not receive further discipline for his illegal hit on Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce in Tampa Bay’s 2-0 series-clinching Game 5 win on Tuesday night.

As he was skating along the right circle in the third period, Palat’s right elbow went into Pesce’s head. Pesce was blindsided by the hit and went to the ice in pain for several moments before getting back to his feet.

Palat received a two-minute minor for the hit, which drew boos from the hometown crowd at PNC Arena.

The league’s Department of Player Safety did not believe the hit warranted any additional discipline beyond the call made on the ice. There was no hearing Wednesday.

The league is clamping down on illegal hits to the head. This postseason, Colorado forward Nazem Kadri was suspended eight games following a hit on Blues defenseman Justin Faulk. Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele received a four-game suspension for a hit on Montreal’s Jake Evans, in which Evans was sent to the hospital on a stretcher.

Palat didn’t physically drive his body into Pesce nor put much force into the hit.

Brind’Amour: Vasilevskiy ‘as good as anyone I’ve ever seen’

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy shakes hands with Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour after Game 5.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy shakes hands with Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour after Game 5. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour had faith that his team could break through against Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the Hurricanes averaged 30 shots against the Lightning goaltender, so they had their chances.

But outside of Carolina’s four-goal output in Game 4, the Hurricanes didn’t manage much against Vasilevskiy. After his team was shut out in Game 5, Brind’Amour has a longer than typical conversation with Vasilevskiy during the post-series handshake line.

“I’ve been around a long time,” said Brind’Amour, who played in the NHL for 20 years before entering coaching. “That’s kind of what I said. I’ve seen a lot of goalies that are good, but he’s as good as anyone that I’ve ever seen. And I go back to Dominik Hasek, and how he affects the team and the way they can play.

“That’s kind of what I just told him, and it’s true. I mean, he makes it look easy. ... We had a lot of great looks (Tuesday night), and they looked like nothing because he’s in the right place.”

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