Phillip Danault’s slew foot on Brayden Point fired up both Point and the Lightning bench during Tuesday’s 6-4 win over the Kings, and now the Los Angeles center’s pocketbook will be a little lighter because of it.
The NHL’s department of player safety on Wednesday fined Danault $5,000, the maximum allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for tripping Point from behind just over nine minutes into the second period of a physical contest between the teams.
Point was skating through the neutral zone when Danault came up from behind and tripped him with his right leg. Point immediately got to his feet and went after Danault, dropping his gloves and landing a pair of right-handed punches before the two were pulled apart.
Even though Danault was the instigator, both players received two-minute minors — Danault for tripping and Point for cross-checking — as well as five-minute fighting majors, which raised the ire of Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
Cooper said the play fired up both teams, especially the Lightning.
“You get through that first period and the whole place could have taken a sleeping pill, and we were completely fine with that,” Cooper said. “And then there was what I considered a potentially missed call (on a high stick to Victor Hedman) and there was a slew foot and all hell breaks loose. So now both teams are really engaged in this game.”
Lightning lose Smith to Wings
The Lightning lost a significant depth piece on Wednesday when forward Gemel Smith, who was nearing a return from injury after missing the entire season, was claimed off waivers by the Red Wings.
Smith played a combined eight games for the Lightning over the previous two seasons in a fill-in role, tallying one goal and three assists. He didn’t play at all this year due to a lower-body injury sustained in the preseason, missing a total of 41 games.
Smith had to clear waivers before he could be assigned to AHL Syracuse but was plucked by Detroit. Smith’s younger brother, Givani, plays for the Red Wings.
Smith made history on May 10 of last season, teaming with Mathieu Joseph and Daniel Walcott to form what is believed to be the first all-Black forward line in NHL history.
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