The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri for the remainder of the first round for a cross-check to the head of Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk during Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on Saturday night.
This is the second straight playoff suspension for the London, Ont., native. The 28-year-old Kadri received a three-game suspension for boarding then Bruins forward Tommy Wingels during Game 1 of their opening-round series in 2018.
The suspension is the fifth of Kadri’s nine-year career. All five suspensions have been the result of illegal hits to the head.
The incident occurred late in the second period of a testy encounter that was ultimately won 4-1 by the Bruins to even the series.
DeBrusk and Kadri engaged in battle for most of the game, starting in the first period when the pair took offsetting minors for roughing and then later in the middle frame where an apparent knee-on-knee from DeBrusk sent Kadri to the dressing room momentarily.
Kadri’s cross-check to the face came seconds after DeBrusk rode Leafs forward Patrick Marleau into the curved glass near the end of the Leafs’ bench.
Kadri was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the play.
Game 3 between the two clubs goes Monday night from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.