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Gallagher suspended five games for illegal check to head

Montreal Canadiens Brendan Gallagher - The Canadian Press

Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher has been suspended five games for an illegal check to the head of New York Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech, it was announced Friday evening.

The veteran forward had a hearing with NHL Player Safety earlier on Friday but the hearing was not in-person, meaning Gallagher could not be suspended more than five games. 

The suspension will cost him about $170,000 in salary, reports TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston.

Gallagher received a match penalty in the third period of Thursday night's game when Gallagher launched his right elbow into Pelech's head well after he dished off the puck at centre ice. The hit sent Pelech flying and he stayed on the ice holding his head for several seconds after. 

Officials reviewed the play and ejected Gallagher, giving the Islanders a five-minute power play trailing 3-1. They scored on the man-advantage but eventually lost 4-3 on a Sean Monahan winner for Montreal. 

Pelech did not return to the game after the hit.

"I think we all saw what happened and I'm sure the league's going to review the hit," Islanders coach Patrick Roy said post-game. "That's all I can say for now."

Gallagher played 12:45 Thursday before leaving, registering two shots on goal. He has eight goals and eight assists in 47 games so far this season.

Signed through the 2026-27 season at a cap hit of $6.5 million, Gallagher has never before been suspended in his 12-year career.