The NHL has handed down one game suspensions to both the Tampa Bay Lightning’s forward Steve Downie and Pittsburgh Penguins LW Chris Kunitz stemming from violent and illegal hits the pair made in game three of the eastern quarterfinals Monday night.
Downie was given a two minute penalty for leaving his feet on a check of Pittsburgh’s Ben Lovejoy and the league felt that his leap towards Lovejoy’s head mixed with Downie’s checkered history was cause enough to dock him one game in the series.
As for Kunitz, his blatant elbow to Simon Gagne’s head was a suspension waiting to happen and its no surprise he is being levied some discipline from the league. Kunitz’s hit was significantly more vicious than Downies play, which many felt was no worse than an average NHL hit and the fact that Kunitz received only the same penalty as Downie is somewhat of a surprise.
Likely as a result of having to play without Downie, the Lightning have recalled both Blair Jones and Mattias Ritola from the Norfolk Admirals for game four. The Bolts trail the Pens 2 games to 1 in the series.