Panthers defenceman Kulikov about to make contact with Lightning forward Sheary in front of the net.
Photo credit: NHL on ESPN

Panthers player ejected and facing suspension for brutal hit to the head

Published March 16, 2024 at 6:19 PM

Moments ago in today's rivalry matchup between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, things started boiling over when the Lightning took a commanding lead in the first period. The Panthers were trying to claw their way back, and actually scored a goal on a play where defenceman Dmitry Kulikov laid a brutal hit to the head and received a game misconduct penalty.

Right in front of the net moments before the puck got into the net, Kulikov stepped into a massive hit with Tampa's Conor Sheary, making direct contact with his head and sending him down to the ice awkwardly. Sheary was definitely caught with his head down, but the onus is on Kulikov to stop himself making an illegal hit in that position.

The Panthers goal was waived off due to the illegal check, a making their comeback significantly harder and now also down a defender for the game.

Kulikov should receive a hearing from the NHL Department of Player Safety for this hit, but with their inconsistencies in supplemental discipline, it's impossible to predict. It's a brutal hit in a vulnerable spot, the exact kind of hit the NHL needs to punish and get out of the league entirely. We'll have to watch in the coming days if Kulikov catches a suspension.
March 16   |   419 answers
Panthers player ejected and facing suspension for brutal hit to the head

How many games should Kulikov be suspended for?

No suspension or a fine419.8 %
1 game378.8 %
2 games8219.6 %
3 games or more25961.8 %
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