TAMPA — Everything went the Lightning’s way through the first two periods of Game 5 Monday night. Until the last few seconds before the final intermission, that is.
Tampa Bay led the Islanders 6-0 through 40 minutes, but already down defenseman Erik Cernak — missing from the lineup with an upper-body injury — the team ended up losing Jan Rutta, as well.
At the end of the second period, Rutta was skating in front of the team benches, jawing with Islanders forward Mathew Barzal.
Barzal made the first cross-check before Rutta reciprocated. Then Rutta took the hit to the head.
Scrums ensued on both sides as Lightning players stuck up for their teammate. Rutta immediately was tended to by head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan.
Upon review, officials assessed Barzal a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking and a 10-minute game misconduct for the play. Like Rutta, he was done for the game.
“I’m disappointed in his decision,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said of Barzal. “It wasn’t going well, and it just sort of dug it a little deeper for the guys.”
Cooper did not have an update on Rutta after the game.
“We don’t know yet,” Cooper said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
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