Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, 25, has already had to miss one game this season due to injury, and he could find himself watching more action from the sidelines in the coming days thanks to a suspension.
In Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, Kulikov saw an opportunity to crunch Philadelphia winger Jakub Voracek and took it, but the Sabres blueliner may have crossed the line. After a turnover inside the Sabres’ zone, Voracek was able to corral the puck before throwing a quick backhand pass to Travis Konecny.
Voracek continued on after making his pass, but by the time he could swing his head around to see any oncoming defenders, he was caught by Kulikov, resulting in a huge open-ice collision. The hit jarred Voracek’s helmet loose and immediately drew a crowd. Take a look:
That sure looks like it could be worthy of supplemental discipline, especially on the reverse angle. Kulikov’s back skate appeared to come up off the ice as he went in for the hit on Voracek and the contact seemed to be primarily with Voracek’s head. The referees working the contest judged the play to be outside the lines of fair play, too, slapping Kulikov with a minor penalty for charging.
If the NHL’s Department of Player Safety does judge Kulikov’s hit to be worthy of supplemental discipline, it won’t be the first time they’ve spoken with the Russian rearguard. In February 2015, he was suspended four games for a low-bridge hit on Dallas Stars sniper Tyler Seguin.
Thankfully for the Flyers, Voracek was able to remain in the game after Kulikov’s hit, and he even got the last laugh. Philadelphia picked up a shootout victory over Buffalo, and it was Voracek who netted the winner.
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