Mark Scheifele could be facing a long suspension.
Scheifele laid one of the most devastating open-ice hits we’ve ever seen Wednesday evening. The Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens were playing Game 1 of their second-round playoff series at Bell MTS Place.
The Habs jumped out to a 3-1 lead and stole Game 1 by a 5-3 score. Montreal rookie Jake Evans sealed the victory with an empty netter, but ended up paying the ultimate price for his effort. After racing to the loose puck and scoring a wraparound goal on the empty net, Evans was flattened by Scheifele.
The hit was absolutely brutal. Evans got knocked out cold and all the Canadiens’ players went after Scheifele. Tyler Toffoli put him in a headlock, and Shea Weber was furious. Scheifele received a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct.
Mark Scheifele tossed for flattening Jake Evans after he scores on the empty net. pic.twitter.com/kE6nU3vDCD
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 3, 2021
After a lengthy delay, Evans was taken off the ice on a stretcher. His health condition at this time is unknown. The 25-year-old has been playing on Montreal’s top line alongside Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher.
It’s hard to find any positives in this situation, but it was awesome to see Nikolaj Ehlers immediately try to shield Evans’ from the large scrum. The Danish forward did everything he could to make sure no player accidentally stepped on Evans.
“I came back and saw he wasn’t looking good. I was just trying to keep everyone away from him”, Ehlers told reporters post game.
Nikolaj Ehlers did something that might not get recognized, he literally walled off the Mark Scheifele near brawl to protect Jack Evans from any players falling on him. #GoHabsGo #MTLvsWPG #GoJetsGo #TSN690 #StanleyCup #Canadiens #TSN690 pic.twitter.com/REqyClcLGM
— Moe Khan (@MoeKhan19) June 3, 2021
Nikolaj Ehlers doing what he can to protect a prone Jake Evans 🙏👏 (📸: David Lipnowski/ Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/igwEqxk0Gm
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) June 3, 2021
Scheifele has never been suspended in his NHL career and doesn’t have a reputation for being a dirty player. This is inexcusable, though. Scheifele was visibly frustrated all game and took an uncharacteristic roughing penalty earlier on. A lengthy suspension for charging is likely coming his way.
We don’t know if Scheifele will return to the series, but things could get ugly if he does. Montreal defenseman Joel Edmundson told the media post-game, “If he [Scheifele] gets back in the series, we’re going to make his life miserable.”
Montreal and Winnipeg will play Game 2 of their North Division playoff series Friday. On his 25th birthday, please keep Jake Evans and his family in your thoughts tonight.