(The Sports Xchange) - Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand will sit out the remainder of the regular season after being suspended two games by the NHL on Thursday for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin.
Marchand was assessed a major penalty for spearing and a game misconduct after leveling Dotchin in the groin with 40 seconds remaining in the first period of Tuesday’s game. The Bruins went on to clinch a postseason berth with a 4-0 victory over the Lightning.
Marchand, who had a meeting with NHL Player Safety on Thursday morning and is considered a repeat offender, will forfeit $109,756.10 based on his average annual salary.
He has been suspended five times in his career. He was also fined $10,000 in January for a dangerous trip on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
Marchand has set career-high totals in goals (39), assists (46) and points (85) while playing in 80 games this season. He will miss Thursday’s contest against the Ottawa Senators and Saturday’s regular-season finale versus the Washington Capitals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning face must-win scenarios in their final three games, but they’ll have to get enough points to qualify for the postseason without captain Steven Stamkos, who is not fully recovered from a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Stamkos is out of Tampa Bay’s lineup for Thursday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and is unlikely to play in the next two games — Friday at the Montreal Canadiens and Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Lightning entered Thursday five points behind the Maple Leafs for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. They were in last place in the Atlantic Division in February and made their playoff push without Stamkos, who will miss 65 straight games if he does not play again this season.
“It’s probably not looking that good,” Stamkos said after Tampa Bay’s morning skate in Toronto. “It’s been frustrating obviously whenever you have to deal with a major injury. I’ve been unfortunate the last couple of years having dealt with a few too many.”
Before getting hurt, Stamkos recorded nine goals and 20 points in 17 games during the first season of an eight-year contract extension he signed two days before free agency on June 29.
Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson has been ruled out of Thursday’s pivotal contest against the host Boston Bruins with a foot injury.
Karlsson returned from a two-game absence due to an ailing left foot on Monday, but aggravated the injury the following night against the Detroit Red Wings.
Karlsson has collected 17 goals to go along with his team-leading assist (54) and point (71) totals in 77 games this season.
The Senators (42-27-10) can clinch a playoff spot by securing at least one point against the Bruins (44-30-6) on Thursday. Ottawa can also book its spot into the NHL’s second season if the Tampa Bay Lightning lose to the Toronto Maple Leafs in any fashion and the New York Islanders fall to the Carolina Hurricanes in any fashion.
The Dallas Stars signed forward Nicholas Caamano to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Caamano was selected by Dallas in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL draft.
Editing by Andrew Both