TJ Oshie landed one of the biggest bodychecks of the season in Game Four of the Washington Capitals’ first-round series against the Florida Panthers. Oshie’s hit on Sam Bennett led directly to Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s goal seconds later, which temporarily gave the Caps the lead in the third period. Florida later tied the game with their goalie pulled and won the game in overtime.
But what will hang over Game Four is how the NHL’s Department of Player Safety might interpret Oshie’s hit. Was it a great bodycheck or was it a headshot deserving supplemental discipline? Whatever is decided will be huge: Oshie has been one of Washington’s best players in the postseason and leads the Capitals in goals in the series with three. Tom Wilson, the Capitals’ other top six right wing, is already out with a lower-body injury.
The play happened in the Capitals’ defensive zone. Oshie attempted to drive his shoulder into Sam Bennett but appeared to catch the Panthers’ forward in the face.
Huge hit from TJ Oshie on Sam Bennett that leads to a Caps goal 😳
Clean or dirty? pic.twitter.com/1wx2CicdOp
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) May 10, 2022
Hadn’t seen anyone tweet out this angle, but TBS had this on the Oshie hit. pic.twitter.com/Au8166qpoM
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 10, 2022
Here is the no call on TJ Oshie’s hit to Sam Bennett’s face. Oshie’s arm goes into Bennett’s chest just as his shoulder hits Bennett’s face. pic.twitter.com/0dArmw5nOB
— David Dwork (@DavidDwork) May 10, 2022
Oshie was not whistled for a penalty. If he would have been, it would have negated Kuznetsov’s breakaway goal.
Bennett was definitely hit in the face. But how might prove to be Oshie’s saving grace. The best argument in Oshie’s defense would be that he hit Bennett’s stick into Bennett’s face.
How do you think DoPS will rule here?
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