The Vancouver Canucks will be playing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals for Mason Raymond.
The Canucks forward suffered a vertebrae compression fracture during the first shift of Monday night's 5-2 loss at Boston that allowed the Bruins to tie the best-of-seven series at three games apiece, with Game 7 Wednesday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 PT).
Raymond, who struggled on the Canucks' second forward line in the post-season, is expected to be out of the lineup three to four months, meaning he could miss the first month of next season.
Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis didn't mince words when talking about the hit.
"I didn't see the puck around him," Gillis said Tuesday. "I thought the Boston player used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back.
"I'm not in charge of supplementary discipline, so I'm not the right person to ask about [a suspension]. I think when you see the severity of that injury, the way our doctors described it to me [was] very, very dangerous. It wasn't a chipped vertebra or cracked vertebra. It's broken through the belly of his vertebra, so it's a very serious injury. You never want to see any play on any team have an injury like that."
Twenty seconds after the opening faceoff Raymond got tangled up with Boston defenceman Johnny Boychuk, who ran his opponent into the boards near the Bruins net, with his stick between the legs of a bent-over Raymond.
Raymond lay face down on the TD Garden ice for several minutes before teammates helped him to the dressing room. He was later taken to hospital for evaluation.
Perhaps the injury shook up the rest of the Canucks' lineup as they surrendered four goals to the Bruins in a span of four minutes 14 seconds in the first period.
The 25-year-old Raymond from Cochrane, Alta., has two goals and eight assists in 24 playoff games. In 70 regular-season games the speedy forward had 15 goals and 24 assists.
Vancouver already was playing without injured defenceman Dan Hamhuis (undisclosed) and forward Mikael Samuelsson (adductor tendon/sports hernia surgery) while foward Ryan Kesler and blue-liner Christian Ehrhoff — and no doubt several players on both squads — also are playing through undisclosed injuries.
Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome was suspended for a hit on Boston's Nathan Horton in Game 3.With files from The Canadian Press