The Dallas Stars are facing a potential sweep in Game 4 on their home ice, and they’ll do so without their team captain.
Forward Jamie Benn has been suspended two games, per the NHL, for his cross-check on Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone in their Game 3 loss in Dallas on Tuesday night, the Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday.
Dallas and Vegas were barely getting going in Game 3 when the Benn situation unfolded.
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As you’d expect, the Golden Knights weren’t pleased with Benn’s actions, and referees quickly issued him a major penalty and sent him off the ice.
“It’s important to note that Benn is in control of this play at all times and makes the decision to deliver a forceful cross-check to a prone player,” the NHL said. “This is simply an unnecessary decision by Benn, and it is delivered with sufficient intent and force to merit supplemental discipline.”
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Benn took responsibility for the play he said was in the “heat of the moment.”
“That was my first shift of a game on home ice, when you’re pretty jacked up and you’re down 1-0,” he said, via ESPN. “So you want to try and get your game going. Emotions are high, and it’s just an unfortunate play. I put my team in a tough situation, so it’s pretty unfortunate.”
Stone said “it didn’t feel good” and “I think I was more a little bit surprised” given that it was his first shift of the game.
ESPN reported, citing a source, that it was believed Benn had an intent to injure Stone on the “dangerous” play, which came to an opponent in a prone position.
We’ve seen lesser suspensions in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, including one on Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who intentionally slashed Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl in the arm in Game 4 of their second-round series.
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If the Stars are defeated in Game 4 on Friday night, Benn will have to serve the final game of his suspension on Opening Night for the 2023-24 regular season.