The NHL suspended Kadri for the remainder of the first-round series between Toronto and Boston after his cross-check to the face of Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk in Game 2 on Saturday. The key word being was. The Bruins won 4-1, outshot the Maple Leafs 41-31, and had a 44-39 advantage in hits.
The stalemate would not last all that long, with the Maple Leafs cashing in on a David Backes high-sticking minor at 10:00.
DeBrusk, Torey Krug and Connor Clifton all were banged up in Game 2.
Matt Grzelcyk of the Boston Bruins is separated from Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Kadri stayed down for a moment before heading straight to the locker room. DeBrusk didn't return to the game but was due to play in Game 3 for the Bruins.
"We weathered the storm as well as we could and I thought halfway through the game we started pushing back much better and into the third period, generating more chances and playing more [in the offensive zone]", Matthews said.
In a video explaining the decision, an National Hockey League spokesman said there was nothing accidental about the hit, which came just after DeBrusk slammed Leafs winger Patrick Marleau into the boards. Charlie Coyle is starting to get the bounces he wasn't receiving after being traded to Boston, as he scored his second goal of the postseason, while David Krejci nabbed his first goal of Round 1 on Monday. Instead of helping his team claw back, he sealed their fate in Game 2. Kadri, on the other hand, will likely be looking at a hefty spell in the press box. Kadri has been offered an in-person hearing, which is usually a precursor to a lengthy suspension.
That cannot happen, not only because it is a frightful way to play the game, but also because the Maple Leafs need him. He could receive a suspension of five games or more.
What might have kept Babcock awake after the Leafs returned home from Boston is the fact that Kadri hasn't learned from past transgressions. He has 161 goals in 561 games, appearing in the playoffs four times.
Criticized for his play in the Bruins' seven-game victory over the Leafs' in last spring's first round, the 21-year-old Matthews was immediately serenaded by chants of "Aus-ton!"
That would cost Kadri three games and force the Leafs to play Tomas Plekanec - who was previously the fourth-line centre - in the top six.
During the game, the refereeing was a topic of conversation - on one side more than the other. Even that is probably excessive given the NHL's complete lack of consistency when it comes to penalties, let alone suspensions. They jumped on the Leafs early and didn't give their players any time to breathe.
The Maple Leafs answered the bell after a physical Game 2 and dialed things up with the series shifting to Toronto, and claimed a hard fought 3-2 win on Monday night at Scotiabank Arena.
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