The Vegas Golden Knights can win the Stanley Cup Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena. A season of goalie patchwork, finding out who and what kind of player Jack Eichel is, and an oversized defensive core have the Golden Knights on the cusp of glory.
One of those defensemen unknowingly risked suspension in Game 4.
When Alex Pietrangelo left the penalty box at the conclusion of the game, he became involved in a fight or additional penalties. By the letter of the NHL rulebook, Pietrangelo could have been suspended (in the regular season, it’s a 10-game ban).
However, Sunday came and went without a word from the league. Presumably, that’s the end of the matter.
There are several reasons Pietragngelo avoided suspension. First, the refs did not assess Pietrangelo a penalty. So, if one is following the letter of the law, he did not engage in an altercation, though he obviously was a part of the game-ending fracas.
Second, the NHL rule book says “at a stoppage in play” regarding leaving the penalty box. Is “a stoppage” different than the end of the game?
Lastly, Rule 70.10 also states that no suspension shall be levied if the opponent is the aggressor. Since Pietrangelo was not penalized, and two Panthers were given misconduct penalties (Matthew Tkachuk and Brandon Montour), the NHL had multiple reasons not to suspend Pietrangelo.
Pietrangelo took a delay of game penalty with 17 seconds remaining in Game 4, giving Florida a 6v4 power play, including the extra attacker.
“It felt like 17 minutes,” coach Bruce Cassidy quipped.
According to our colleagues at Florida Hockey Now, Matthew Tkachuk is nursing a shoulder injury.
The winger who has made the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs his star turn with dramatic goals and game-winners, played sparingly in the third period of Game 4. Coach Paul Maurice indirectly confirmed the injury.
“We were just looking, hoping, to get into a situation where he could use what he had to give us and hopefully get a power play a little earlier, I guess, than the end of the game.”
Tkachuk was crushed with an open-ice hit by Keegan Kolesar in Game 3. Concussion spotters pulled Tkachuk from the game until he was cleared early in the second period. However, it is believed, though not confirmed, that Kolesar’s hit injured Tkachuk.
Sunday, Maurice was mum on Tkachuk’s status or how he might deploy him for Game 5.
“Just situational. There are players that will play just power play. There are guys that will stay on for offensive-zone draws,” Maurice said on the off-day Zoom call. “There are different styles of centers and wings that you can play with to kind of put them in a position to be good at what they can be good at.”
The inference is that Tkachuk will play but not be readily available for all situations. He could just play on the power play or offensive zone draws.
Tkachuk, whom Florida acquired from the Calgary Flames last summer, had 109 points, including 40 goals in 79 games this season. He also has 24 points (11-13-24) in 20 playoff games and four game-winning goals.