Friday, 19 April, 2019

Toronto's Nazem Kadri to meet with NHL Monday regarding Jake DeBrusk hit

Mike Augello - Boston to step up physical play in Game 2; Leafs vs. Bruins Leafs' Kadri could face suspension for high hit
Cary Erickson | 15 April, 2019, 16:27

The key word being was.

Boston really stormed out of the gate, generating a 2-0 lead in the first period and adding another goal in the second, while dominating the shot clock 29-16 through the first 40 minutes.

And all four of Kadri's previous suspensions also involved him targeting an opponent's head, a no-no in today's game.

Hits were flying, the referees largely put their whistles away and it got ugly late, especially from a Toronto perspective, after Nazem Kadri levelled Jake DeBrusk with a vicious cross-check to the face with six minutes left in the third.

That includes losses in two of three road dates during last spring's first-round playoff matchup. Kadri stayed down, skated off on his own and returned for the third. He did return for the final frame.

Babcock, desperate for a solution, switched up his lines and defence pairs to start the third period, most notably putting Auston Matthews between Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman. The Kadri cross-check on DeBrusk came after the Bruin hit Patrick Marleau into the curved glass at the Boston bench. He was handed a five-minute major for cross-checking and a 10-minute match penalty. Instead of helping his team claw back, he sealed their fate in Game 2. Kadri, on the other hand, will likely be looking at a hefty spell in the press box.

The NHL has offered Kadri an in-person hearing with the department of player safety, which may indicate a lengthy suspension. Players who are to be disciplined five games or less are given the chance to do a hearing over the phone.

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It will be Kadri's second playoff suspension in as many years.

Kadri has been suspended four times in his career. Things won't come easy for the Bruins in this one though as they have struggled to find a way to win in recent trips to Toronto as they are 2-7 in their last 9 trips to the Ontario capital and they are just 1-5 in their last 6 playoff games as an underdog which are two trends favoring the Buds in this one.

"You have to play real hard and look after yourself, but you can't cross the line", Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said on a conference call with reporters Sunday.

During the game, the refereeing was a topic of conversation - on one side more than the other.

Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs have been paying close attention to some of the eyebrow-raising results early in the National Hockey League playoffs. Frederik Andersen played another incredible game, but his efforts were wasted by another poor effort from his team.

That the meeting is scheduled for just hours before Game 3 of the series between Boston and the Maple Leafs in Toronto seems beside the point.