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Islanders’ Mathew Barzal fined, not suspended for hit on Lightning’s Jan Rutta

Barzal, who was ejected from Game 5 after cross-checking Rutta in the head, is assessed a $5,000 fine.
Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta remains down after a hit to the head by Islanders center Mathew Barzal at the end of the second period Monday night.
Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta remains down after a hit to the head by Islanders center Mathew Barzal at the end of the second period Monday night. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 22
Updated Jun. 22

TAMPA — Islanders coach Barry Trotz was not anticipating a suspension for forward Mathew Barzal as a result of the cross-check he made on Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta in Game 5 of the semifinals Monday night.

Trotz’s hunch was right.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety assessed a $5,000 fine to Barzal, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. He will not face a suspension for the hit to the head.

On Monday night, the players jawed back and forth at each other before Barzal cross-checked Rutta’s left shoulder.

Rutta responded with a shove before Barzal checked the defenseman in the head. Rutta stayed down on the ice for a few minutes after getting tended to by head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan.

Barzal was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct at the end of the second period. Rutta never returned.

“I don’t (have an update),” coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday. “I’ll have an update (Wednesday) morning.”

After the game, Trotz was displeased with Barzal’s actions, saying, “it just sort of dug it a little deeper for the guys.” The Islanders were down 6-0 at the time, going on to lose 8-0.

This is Barzal’s second offense of the 2020-21 season after he was assessed a diving/embellishment fine of $2,000 on April 29.

Tampa Bay holds a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 in New York on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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