Vegas Golden Knights forward Erik Haula defended himself on Monday, stating he did not butt-end Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar in Game 3.
Kings head coach John Stevens called for Haula to be disciplined for the action on Sunday night, but Haula was not contacted by the league's department of player safety.
The incident occurred in the second period of Game 3, when Haula struck the Los Angeles Kings forward after being checked to the ice. He argued Monday only his glove made contact with Kopitar's face.
“He landed on my back in front of the net; I tried to get up and I had no intention of doing what the replay showed,” Haula told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “I was holding my stick like I normally would. I don’t think the stick hit him. If the butt end of my stick had hit him, he would have had a mark on his face or something.”
Kopitar was not injured on the play and logged 23:32 of ice time in the loss.
“It was not a dirty play,” Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant said Monday. "It’s nothing major. Kopitar cross-checked him pretty good. Haula got up and pushed him back with his glove.
“Kopitar’s not a diver; he’s a respected player. Part of the glove hit him; I can’t see anything else. He was fine.”
Stevens pointed to Kings defenceman Drew Doughty receiving a one-game suspension for a hit to the head in Game 1 as his argument for Haula being suspended.
"We get a guy suspended for making a hockey play, and he [Haula] butt-ends one of the best players in the world in the face with the butt end of his stick," Stevens said. "So, if I was confused before, I'm bewildered now. That's an intent-to-injure play … you guys make the judgment, because it's a bunch of BS, to be honest with you."
Up 3-0 in the series, the Golden Knights will attempt to sweep the Kings on Tuesday night.