New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey exploded into Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin with a big open-ice hit in the second period of Game 3 of their second-round series.
The body check happened midway through the frame. Drouin tried to skate the puck into the Islanders zone looked down for a second and then Hickey hit into Drouin.
The young forward skated to the Tampa bench on his own power, doubled over after the play, which was not penalized. Drouin then left the bench, again under his own power. So far he hasn’t returned and there’s no official word on his issue.
It’s unclear whether the play will merit any supplemental discipline. Hickey played the body as Drouin tried to make a play with the puck. Also, it didn’t appear Hickey targeted the head, though it did seem his shoulder hit Drouin in the chin.
Losing Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, would be a big blow to Tampa’s already depleted depth. The Lightning were already without captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot), defenseman Anton Stralman (fractured left fibula) and forward Erik Condra (head injury).
Drouin had just 10 points in 21 games during the regular season for the Lightning. He was sent down to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, but held out after his agent divulged a trade demand. Drouin then reported back to Syracuse and the Lightning recalled him for their playoff run.
During this stretch he’s been impressive with one goal and six assists in seven playoff games heading into Game 3 of this series.
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