Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty avoided suspension on Sunday by the NHL for a hit he delivered on New York Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh during the Habs' 3-0 the previous night.

Pacioretty was left to explain the incident during a phone hearing with the league’s director of player safety Brendan Shanahan on Sunday.

The Canadiens forward was penalized for boarding McDonagh at 7:20 of the second period where the Rangers blue-liner hit the glass face first.

McDonagh, his mouth bloodied from the hit, left the game and did not return.

Rangers coach John Tortorella was upset about the play, and started his post-game press conference with a question for reporters.

"Can I ask the first question? How high did Pacioretty jump on his hit? Can anyone tell me?" Tortorella said. "I'm asking you guys. Over/under?" 

One reporter responded with a guess of six inches, leading Tortorella to comment "You're wrong."

Pacioretty has faced discipline from the league before, having been suspended three games for a hit to the head of Penguins' Kris Letang last season.

Pacioretty was also involved in an incident two weeks ago, when he claimed Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski bit his right forearm during a scrum.

However, Grabovski was not disciplined following a hearing with the league.

With files from The Associated Press