NHL

Zack Kassian in hot water again after kicking Lightning's Cernak in Oilers' loss

Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian has waived his right to an in-person hearing and will instead have a telephone hearing with the NHL after he kicked Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Erik Cernak in the chest during the first period on Thursday night.

Edmonton forward to have telephone hearing with NHL on Friday afternoon

Zack Kassian, seen above in this file photo from last season, has been offered an in-person hearing after kicking Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Erik Cernak during the first period on Thursday. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian has waived his right to an in-person hearing and will instead have a telephone hearing with the NHL on Friday after he kicked Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Erik Cernak in the chest during the first period on Thursday night.

It happened during an incident inside the Oilers blue line when Oilers forward Josh Archibald, Kassian and Cernak were tangled up on the ice.

Kassian was suspended two games last month for an aggressor penalty involving Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk.

"He was holding my leg, it was reactionary. I was just trying to get him off me, kick him off me," Kassian said. "I was just trying to get my foot loose."

Meanwhile, Yanni Gourde scored a short-handed goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 29 saves to lift Tampa Bay to its ninth straight victory, 3-1, over Edmonton.

WATCH | Zack Kassian and other NHL kicking incidents:

As the Oilers' Zack Kassian awaits his fate from the department of player safety, let's look at how his kick to the chest of Tampa Bay's Erik Cernak stacks up against ones of the past. 0:55

Tampa Bay also won its 10th in a row at home.

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-2 in his past 20 starts. Pat Maroon and Cedric Paquette also scored for the Lightning, who won despite playing without top two scorers Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.

"Injuries are tough, but everybody has them," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It's part of the game, so you can't cry foul or say why us — everybody gets hurt. It's tough that we've had some pretty big names go down for us, but it doesn't look like, hopefully, it won't be long."

Caleb Jones scored for Edmonton, which played its second consecutive game without Connor McDavid, who is out two-to-three weeks with a thigh injury. Mike Smith finished with 34 saves for the Oilers, who lost for the fourth time in regulation in the past 16 games.

"We had lots of compete in our game," Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said. "We had some chances there that were kind of around it, but didn't capitalize on it. Mistakes end up being the dictator of the game and we came out on the short end."

WATCH | Bolts defeat Oilers, extend win streak:

Tampa Bay defeated Edmonton 3-1 at home on Thursday night. 1:19

Gourde, who ended a 35-game drought on Tuesday, scored the winner on a short-handed breakaway at 13:01 of the second period, beating Smith with a backhander over the shoulder.

"I don't think, I just go," said Gourde, who scored his fourth career short-handed goal. "When I picked up the puck, I thought [Smith] had a good gap on me and the bottom of the ice was closed, so I was surprised the puck went that high."

Maroon opened up the scoring at 4:39 of the second period with his seventh goal of the season. After a shot from the right point by Luke Schenn deflected off Cameron Gaunce to behind the goal line, Maroon quickly found the loose puck and stuffed it between the near post and Smith's left pad. The assist for Gaunce was his first NHL point since March 24, 2017, when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Edmonton pulled even at 9:36 when Jones cut down the slot and after his initial shot was blocked, picked up the rebound and fired a shot to the top corner for his third goal of the season.

Paquette scored into an empty net with 55.1 seconds left.

With files from CBC Sports

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