The Vancouver Canucks were handed another loss before Saturday’s home game against Calgary (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).
The NHL on Friday suspended forward Zack Kassian three games without pay following his hit from behind against Dallas' Brenden Dillon in Thursday's 6-1 defeat.
Last September, Kassian was suspended three exhibition games and five regular-season contests for a high stick that broke the nose of Edmonton Oilers centre Sam Gagner.
With 80 seconds left in the first period Thursday, Kassian hit Dillon into the boards near the Vancouver bench and was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and game misconduct.
Video footage shows Kassian leaving his feet to deliver the hit when the puck wasn’t in Dillon’s possession.
The NHL says a suspension was warranted because Kassian didn't make any effort to avoid or minimize the contact and hit Dillon with "significant force."
"Kassian has enough time to avoid this check entirely or at the very least minimize his force," the league says in a video on its website, which you can watch below.
Dillon, a second-year NHL defenceman, appeared shook up on the play but returned to play in the second period.
“I was relieved to get him back,” Stars head coach Lindy Ruff told reporters in reference to his 23-year-old blue-liner. “It was definitely a shot from behind. Those are tough hits and the best retribution is make the other team pay on the power play.
“He [Kassian] didn’t come from a long way [on the ice] but Dillon was in a bad position when he got hit.”
Kassian, who will forfeit $32,103.66 that goes to the players' emergency assistance fund, will miss games against Calgary on Saturday, New York Islanders on Monday and Winnipeg on March 12.
The Canucks have dropped three straight games and are 11th in the Western Conference standings with a 28-26-10 record.
Click below to listen to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's explanation of Kassian's suspension.