Max Domi sucker punches Aaron Ekblad in NHL preseason game

MONTREAL (AP) — Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said Max Domi’s sucker punch on Aaron Ekblad was “gutless.”

Domi was given a match penalty for punching Ekblad in the nose in the third period in the Panthers’ 5-2 exhibition victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Ekblad left the game, at the NHL’s request, and did not return. He went through tests after the game and cleared concussion protocol.

“I’m sure the league will look at it and we definitely won’t forget about it,” said Luongo, who played the first two periods. “You don’t do that. You respect your opponents and if your opponent doesn’t want to engage in a fight, there’s no reason to drop your glove and punch him square in the face. Bit of a gutless play. You don’t do those types of things.”

With the Canadiens losing 2-1 at the start of the third period, Domi — acquired from Arizona in the offseason — began tugging on Ekblad’s shirt, asking him to fight. With the Florida star showing no interest to drop the gloves, Domi punched him in the face twice with two lefts, but still Ekblad didn’t respond. That’s when Domi dropped his right glove and sucker punched him in the nose.

The bloodied Ekblad dropped to the ice. Domi was given a minor, major and match penalty.

“NHL Player Safety will review it. It’s in their hands now,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “We had a delayed penalty and Ekblad was just trying to stay out of it. I didn’t expect that he was going to drop his glove and sucker punch him.”

Added Mike Hoffman: “I guess they were trying to showcase something over there. It’s preseason, so maybe guys are trying to make an impression. But maybe do it by playing hockey.”

The Canadiens saw the altercation a little differently.

“The two were arguing with one another,” Jonathan Drouin said. “I saw a pretty big slash from Ekblad on Max, and Max just took matters into his own hands. It’s also Ekblad’s fault for not protecting himself.”

Evgenii Dadonov and Jared McCann each scored twice for Florida, and Nick Bjugstad added an empty-net goal. Luongo stopped 20 of 21 shots, and Michael Hutchinson stopped 11 of 12 in the third period.

Matthew Peca and Nikita Scherbak scored for the Canadiens. Carey Price played the first half of the game, stopping 20 of 22 shots. Antti Niemi made 16 saves on 18 shots in relief.


NEW YORK (AP) — Oskar Lindblom had two goals and an assist to help Philadelphia beat New York.

Corban Knight had a goal and two assists, Dale Weise, Mikhail Vorobyov and German Rubtsov added goals, and Scott Laughton had three assists. Brian Elliott started for Philadelphia and allowed three goals on 17 shots. Carter Hart replaced Elliott, and finished with 22 saves.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Pavel Buchnevich and Filip Chytil scored for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist started in goal, and allowed five goals on 22 shots. Dustin Tokarski made 10 saves in relief.


At Ottawa, Ontario, Tyler Ennis scored twice and Toronto beat Ottawa to sweep the two-game preseason series.

Auston Matthews and Jeremy Bracco also scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen played two periods, stopping all 19 shots he faced. Calvin Pickard played the third period, allowing one goal on six shots.

Filip Chlapik had a power-play goal for the Senators. Craig Anderson played the first half, allowing a goal on 18 shots. Mike McKenna gave up two goals on nine shots.

John Tavares didn’t accompany the Maple Leafs to Ottawa after scoring twice Tuesday night a 4-1 victory over the Senators in Lucan.


At Detroit, Michael Rasmussen scored 1:32 into overtime to lift Detroit past Pittsburgh.

Trevor Hamilton and Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard and Harri Sater split time in goal, each stopping 14 of 15 shots.

Derek Grant and Ryan Haggerty scored for Pittsburgh, and Tristan Jarry stopped 41 shots.


At Raleigh, North Carolina, Janne Kuokkanen had a goal and two assists in Carolina’s victory over Tampa Bay.

Dougie Hamilton, Martin Necas, Michael Ferland, Julien Gauthier and Jaccob Slavin also scored. Scott Darling started for the Hurricanes, and stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first half of the game. Callum Booth made 10 saves on 11 shots.

Boris Katchouk scored for Tampa Bay, and Edward Pasquale allowed all six goals on 35 shots.


At Des Moines, Iowa, Tyler Bozak scored twice in a 27-second span to push St. Louis past Minnesota.

Sammy Blais had a power-play goal, and Ville Husso made 23 saves.

Brennan Menell and Justin Kloos scored for the Wild, and Alex Stalock stopped 26 shots.


At Beijing, Jake DeBrusk scored twice, Tuukka Rask made 22 saves and Boston beat Calgary to sweep the two-game O.R.G. NHL China Games.

DeBrusk broke a tie 5:27 into the third period, and Kevan Miller added an empty-netter. The Bruins won the opener 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night in Shenzhen.

Sean Monahan scored for Calgary, and Mike Smith stopped 16 shots.


At Vancouver, British Columbia, Matthew Phillips, Spencer Foo, Andrew Mangiapane and Juuso Valimaki scored for Calgary against Vancouver.

David Rittich stopped all 26 shots he faced in the first two periods. Tyler Parsons stopped 12 of 13 shots in the third, allowing Brendan Leipsic’s goal.

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