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Gudbranson suspended one game for altercation with Cousins

Erik Gudbranson Columbus Blue Jackets Erik Gudbranson - Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Erik Gudbranson has been suspended one game for his altercation with Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins on Sunday, NHL Player Safety announced Monday.

The penalty falls under rule 46.2 (Aggressor).

While chasing a loose puck in the third period of Sunday's matchup, Cousins hit Gudbranson from behind, sending the Blue Jackets' defenceman face-first into the endboards. He was slow to get up but went after Cousins seconds later, kicking off a scrum that officials quickly broke up.

Cousins was initially handed a major penalty for the hit but that turned to a minor after a review, which appeared to draw the ire of Gudbranson, who also headed to the box on the play for roughing.

Later in the frame, Gudbranson grabbed Cousins and slammed him to the ice, unloading several punching before being pulled away by officials. He received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. 

"Erik is a tough customer," Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly said via Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. "We didn't like the way he was hit. It got to a point where he wanted to stand up for himself and he got the first shot at the guy who did it. That's kind of the way it went."

The Panthers went on to win the game 5-2. Gudbranson had one assist in 13:38 of ice time, while Cousins had two shots on goal in 13:24 of action.

The two teams are not scheduled to meet again until April 11, when the Blue Jackets head to Sunrise, Fla.