Matthew Tkachuk destroyed Jack Eichel with the hit of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tkachuk delivered the punishing hit in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Florida Panthers in the game, chasing Conn Smythe favorite goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
In an effort to spark his team, Tkachuk targeted one of Vegas’ top players during the second period. As Jack Eichel exited his own zone, Tkachuk blew him up with a massive hit at the blueline. The huge hit popped off Eichel’s helmet and left the VGK forward stunned.
Eichel appeared to see Tkachuk coming at the last second, but it was too little too late. The ex-Sabre was forced to exit the game following the brutal collision. Fortunately, he returned at the start of the third period.
Check out the Tkachuk hit on Eichel below:
Tkachuk was assessed a 10-minute misconduct, but it wasn’t for the actual hit. The ref deemed the hit was legal and didn’t give Tkachuk a penalty for hitting Eichel. There was a scrum afterward in which Tkachuk picked up the 10-minute penalty.
This story has a feel-good ending to it, as Eichel returned to the game to start the third period. He wasted no time making an impact, immediately rushing down the ice and setting up Jonathan Marchessault for a goal. The best way to get revenge is truly on the scoresheet.
you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him 😤 pic.twitter.com/tWQoSa2j4w
— z – Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 6, 2023
Eichel commented post-game on the Tkachuk hit, calling it “clean”. “It was a big collision but I came back (to the dressing room) and regrouped,” Eichel told reporters. “I blame myself a little bit,” adding he toe-picked and was reaching for the puck.
Considering how big the hit was, it’s great that Jack wasn’t seriously hurt. Eichel underwent a successful disk replacement surgery on his neck back in November. The surgery involved an artificial disk replacement (ADR), a procedure that hadn’t been previously done on an NHL player. This collision could have been far more devastating for Eichel.
There’s nothing like a good clean hit in the NHL Playoffs. Tkachuk blowing up Eichel is what makes the Stanley Cup Final so great.