Cedric Paquette sends Mattias Ekholm flying into Lightning bench with huge hit

Tampa Bay winger Cedric Paquette introduced Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm to his teammates during Thursday's game by sending the Predators blueliner head first into the Lightning bench with a beautiful hit. It was Paquette's first game back in the lineup after a six-game absence due to injury. Ekholm is likely wishing Paquette had missed just one more outing.
Publish date:
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Heading into Thursday's game against Nashville, Tampa Bay winger Cedric Paquette had missed the last six games with an upper body injury. It appears all is well with Paquette, though. After all, he used his upper body to launch Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm into the Lightning bench with a great hit.

The timing on the hit couldn't have been better, either. With the Lightning down 3-1, Brian Boyle scored with 6:41 remaining in the second period to bring Tampa Bay within one. Then, off the ensuing faceoff, a total of four seconds later, Paquette came charging hard to send Ekholm for a ride:

What's best about Paquette's hit is that he didn't need to use any extra force to dump Ekholm into the Tampa Bay bench. Usually when a player gets sent for an unintentional line change like this, the player throwing the hit needs to use a bit of force to make sure they get all the way up and over the boards. Not the case for Paquette, as the contact itself was enough to put Ekholm directly into enemy territory.

Paquette, who stands 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, isn't the biggest body, but his job for the Lightning is to chip in a bit of offense -- he has 12 goals and 19 points in 57 games -- and irritate the opposition. Even if he didn't get on the score sheet last night in Tampa Bay's 3-2 loss, any time you take an opposition player off the ice with a beautiful check like this, you can consider it a job well done.


Adin Hill and Evander Kane

Five NHL Teams That Need to do More Work This Summer

The big fish are gone. There are now more teams over the cap ceiling than there are below the cap floor. But as free agent frenzy has died down, not every team’s needs have been adequately addressed. Here's a look at five teams that aren't done yet.

Dalibor Dvorsky

Remember Dalibor Dvorsky's Name for the 2023 NHL Draft

The Hlinka-Gretzky Cup seemed poised to be dominated by Russian phenom Matvei Michkov, but it's instead the exploits of 16-year-old Dalibor Dvorsky - a top 2023 NHL draft prospect - that is getting everyone talking.

Zach Hyman and Adam Larsson

Which Teams Will Regret Their New UFA Signings the Most?

The free agency season is always one that leaves some teams repenting deals they made after time passes. Which off-season deals could cause problems down the road this time around?