New Jersey Devils rookie Nico Hischier was the victim of an unpenalized spear from the stick of Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman late in Game 3 of the Devils 5-2 win.
With a little over a minute to play in what at the time was a 3-2 Devils lead, Hischier dumped the puck into the Lightning zone as the Devils were on a power play. As Hedman approached Hischier he stuck his stick out and speared Hischier in the groin.
As Hischier got up from the ice he went after Hedman, understandably, as the linesman held him back from a further confrontation. The Devils bench was arguing a penalty should have been called to no avail as the on-ice officials apparently didn’t see the play as it happened.
On Friday, following the Lightning’s practice, Victor Hedman was asked about the play by The Athletic’s Joe Smith.
“I probably deserved it,” Hedman said, according to Joe Smith of The Athletic. “Doesn’t belong in this game. Immature play by me.”
Victor Hedman on getting booed every time he touched by #NJDevils fans. “I probably deserved it.” Says he apologized to Nico after game for hitting him in groin. “Doesn’t belong in this game. Immature play by me.”
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) April 20, 2018
In Game 4 of the series on Thursday night, the Devils fans let Hedman hear it every chance they had. Hedman was booed every time he touched the puck as the Lightning took the game 3-1 and now lead the series 3-1 as the teams get ready for Game 5 in Tampa, Florida on Saturday afternoon.
Hedman said he texted Hischier to apologize to him after Game 3 for the hit and confrontation; He said it was in the heat of the moment but shouldn’t have happened.
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) April 20, 2018
Mike Morreale of NHL.com tweeted that Hedman did text Hischier to apologize to him following Game 3.
This is the second time in the series where the on-ice officials have been suspect with regards to controversial calls in the series. On Wednesday night Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen took a hard hit from Nikita Kucherov. The Devils believed the hit was direct to the head, but the officials and the NHL deemed it legal. Vatanen is questionable for Game 5.