The National Hockey League announced Wednesday that Oilers defensive player Darnell Nurse has suspended one game for heading into Kings center Philip Danault.
The nurse will not be available when Edmonton tries to avoid elimination from the first round of the Stanley Cup Series in Game 6 against Los Angeles on Thursday.
The incident between Nurse and Danault occurred late in the second period of Game Five on Tuesday. Los Angeles was in the power game, and Nurse was vying for a position with Danault in front of Oilers guard Mike Smith. When Smith made a rescue, Nurse pointed his body toward Danault and shot his head in the center’s face.
This is the Nurse’s second suspension – and the other was a three-game ban in 2016 for violating the aggressor rule against Roman Pollack. This does not qualify the nurse as a repeat offender under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, but her suspension for a post-season elimination game reflects a punishment harsher than suspension for one game during the regular season.
Los Angeles rebounded from a 2-1 deficit, winning 5-4 in the overtime game in Game 5, to top the best of seven series 3-2.
Commentary leaves Edmonton for trying to force Game 7 without its defensive champion. The nurse led all Oilers in regular ice time (averaging 25:03 per game) and is an important part of Edmonton’s game in 5-on-5 and special teams. He’s been averaging nearly 22 minutes in postseason games.