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Canadiens' Patrice Brisebois, right, says he was lucky not to lose two or three teeth after taking a Scott Nichol cross-check to the face. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

Calling himself lucky, Patrice Brisebois says the NHL was right in handing Nashville forward Scott Nichol a five-game suspension for cross-checking the Montreal Canadiens defenceman to the face.

"Two or three inches and he could have broken all my teeth," Brisebois, who wasn't hurt on the play in Saturday's 5-4 shootout loss, said Tuesday.

"You can see on the video he went for my head. The league wants to stop shots to the head. That's good. Whether he deserved two or five games, that's not my job to decide. But with what he did, I think he deserved it."

Nichol was given a double-minor penalty for whacking Brisebois with the shaft of his stick in the second period. The Canadien went down but got right back up and even played on the ensuing power play.

On Monday, NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell called it a dangerous hit. The suspension was longer than usual because it was Nichol's second offence.

Nichol was suspended nine games last Dec. 21 for delivering a sucker-punch to Buffalo Sabres defenceman Jaroslav Spacek in a 7-2 setback.

Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said it didn't matter that Brisebois wasn't injured.

"He's just lucky [Brisebois] didn't get hurt," said Carbonneau of Nichol. "He knew what he was trying to do."

Nichol is eligible to return Dec. 15 and will forfeit $45,732 US in salary.

With files from the Canadian Press