Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Nikas Soccer kicks New York Islanders’ Brock Nelson moments after coming off the bench in New York City in a 5-1 loss on Friday.
- JG Pageau thoroughly checked Martin Necas in the Islanders bench on Friday
- Nikas responded by hitting Brock Nelson in the face
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A night of frustration erupted for Carolina Hurricanes when quarterback Martin Nicas was seen punching New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson in the face unprovoked, moments after he was sent to the bench.
Late in the third period, Nekas was fighting for the puck around center ice as his Hurricanes were trailing 3-1 in the game.
Challenging the Islanders’ position, Justin Gabriel Bago was matched with a perfect shoulder check, sending Nikas flying over the boards upside down in the Islanders’ bench.
After he managed to get to his feet, Nikas turned around, looked at the bench, and the hockey players punched forward Brock Nelson – who was wearing a conspicuous protective mask over his helmet, which hockey players refer to as a ‘fishbowl’.
Nikas lost his stick on the bench, but left it there and jumped back onto the ice without further incident as he left the New York players yelling at the referees to call for a penalty.
Carolina’s Martin Nikas (legs) is checked in the Islanders’ bench by JG Pageau (44)
Then Nikas punched New York’s Brook Nelson back on the ice and kept playing
The Islanders won their first game of the playoffs and are now only 2-1 behind in the series
According to NHL rule 46.15, “A match penalty (ejection) is assessed for any player who punches an unsuspecting or unwilling opponent (i.e. a ‘sucker punch’) and causes injury”.
But the officials on the ice did not call for a penalty, and Nikas continued to play. The team watched as the Islanders scored an empty net goal and an off deflection goal to make the final score 5-1.
With this victory, the Islanders earned their first win in the playoffs, bringing the series to 2-1.
Nelson’s teammate Kyle Palmieri said the protective shield on his helmet prevented any serious damage.
“JJ did great at (Necas),” Palmieri said. Maybe he was a little annoyed when he came on the bench for the other team. It is what it is. It is an emotional game. Brock wore a face mask. I’m sure he’s fine.
TBS color commentator Keith Jones praised Pageau for the hit, saying it was a clean move and that Necas should have no reason to be angry.
“That’s just a good shoulder too, it’s not like he hit him cheaply or anything at all,” Jones noted.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DOPS) has not released a statement regarding a hearing regarding the incident. When DailyMail.com reached out to the Carolina Hurricanes, they said they had not heard anything from DOPS about a possible hearing.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the NHL, which did not respond to requests for comment.