Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau
Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 4:44 p.m.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has been suspended for Friday night’s playoff game against the Golden Knights after an illegal hit that knocked William Carrier out of Wednesday night’s series opener.
Doughty will be sorely missed by the Kings, who fell 1-0 to the Knights. He led all players with 28 minutes of ice time in the first game and is a candidate for the Norris Trophy for the league’s best defenseman.
Midway through the third period Doughty caught Carrier’s head with a hard shoulder check that sent Carrier crashing to the ice. Carrier left the ice straight for the locker room and didn’t return. Coach Gerard Gallant said he is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The NHL Department of Player Safety deemed that Doughty violated Rule 48.1 of an illegal check to the head, stating he “delivered a high, forceful hit that makes Carrier’s head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable.”
The department specified that although Doughty’s first point of contact was to Carrier’s arm, the brunt of the impact of the hit was delivered to Carrier’s head, making it illegal.
“I thought it was a bad hit, but again, that’s not for me to decide,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “The referee didn’t think it was a penalty, but I’m sure people will look at that hit and make a decision.”
Doughty is the Kings’ third-leading scorer on the season with 10 goals and 50 assists, and led the team with 26:50 of average ice time. With fellow top defenseman Jake Muzzin still recovering from an upper body injury, the suspension hurts an already-thin defensive core for Los Angeles heading into game two.