Vegas Golden Knights’ power forward Ryan Reaves has crossed the line again.
Reaves was given a five-minute match penalty and two roughing minors after he injured Colorado Avalanche blueliner Ryan Graves in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series Sunday. Graves was left bleeding on the ice following the sequence.
The incident occured midway during the third period in a post-whistle scrum. The Avalanche were leading 6-1 at the time as the game turned ugly. The skirmish started with Reaves cross-checking Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer in the back of the head.
Reaves then put Graves in a headlock and brought him down to the ice. Reaves appeared to place his knee on Graves’ head and drive it into the ice. Trainers had to rush out to attend to Graves as he laying on the ice and not moving. Graves went straight to the locker room, but later returned to the game.
According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Reaves’ match penalty means he’s suspended pending a hearing.
Ryan Reaves ejected late in Game 1 for injuring Ryan Graves pic.twitter.com/k60V8CPRvW
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 31, 2021
The ensuing result was something you don’t see everyday. The Avalanche went on a nine-minute power play as a result of Reaves’ actions. Valeri Nichushkin, Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Whitecloud and Brandon Saad were also given misconducts in the third period.
From the department of things you don't see every game… pic.twitter.com/MCNn4ACSW7
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 31, 2021
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog went off on Reaves in his post-game press conference.
“Reaves is on a mission to hurt someone in the third”, said Landeskog. “That’s what he goes out and does. I’m sure the league will take a look at it. It was intent to injure.”
Reaves stirred up some controversy in the opening round when he shoved Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter into the goal post during Game 7. Reaves was assessed a two-minute penalty for interference on the play. He escaped supplementary discipline from the NHL, however.
Reaves gets two minutes for interference against Suter pic.twitter.com/1Mzl48IpaM
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 29, 2021
Here’s some of the early social media reaction to the latest controversial play by Reaves:
Match penalty for attempt to injure by Reaves a game after he attempted to injure Suter. He spent last series going after guys like Spurgeon and Zuccarello and hitting people from behind. Not an honest way for a tough guy to play
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) May 31, 2021
Suspend Ryan Reaves now. Absolute joke
— Kyle Keefe (@kylekeefetv) May 31, 2021
So, within 2 games, Ryan Reaves could’ve caused two very serious injuries with his recklessness. Suter into the post and that nonsense with Graves. If we’re suspending Kadri, Reaves needs to be suspended, too. You can’t allow that.
— Rachel Doerrie (@racheldoerrie) May 31, 2021
Reaves has been suspended twice over his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues and Golden Knights. In 2016, Reaves was banned three games for boarding San Jose defenseman Matt Tennyson. He was also suspended one game for an illegal hit to the head of Canucks’ forward Tyler Motte during the 2020 Western Conference Finals.
There has only been one lengthy suspension handed out in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far. Nazem Kadri of the Avalanche was handed an eight-game suspension for his hit on Blues’ defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.
Game 2 of this heated rivalry series between Colorado and Vegas will be played on Wednesday, June 2nd at Ball Arena.