The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Friday morning that Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for a cross-checking incident involving Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting in last night’s 3-2 win for Florida in Game 2 of their Second Round series.
DoPS has not made an announcement regarding any discipline for Bennett on a first-period collision that resulted in an injury to Toronto winger Matthew Knies. Knies skated one shift after the play before leaving the game with an injury.
Bennett was assessed a minor penalty on the cross-checking play involving Bunting and no penalty on the play involving Knies. The Panthers center cross-checked Bunting in the side of the head during a net-front battle, causing Bunting to fall to the ice. While on the ice, Bennett again cross-checked Bunting in the lower back.
Among the Toronto fanbase, the play drew comparisons to Auston Matthews’ cross-check to the face of Buffalo Sabres defender Rasmus Dahlin during last year’s Heritage Classic. Matthews received a two-game suspension as a result of the play.