Examining the Svechnikov big hit on Lindholm versus Lindgren hit on Rakell

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, physicality intensifies. Hitting picks up. It’s that intense physical style which can have an impact on a series.

Only three days into the 2022 NHL Postseason, we’ve already seen some heavy hits that have caused injuries to key players. Of course, you hope they aren’t significant. Nobody wants to see players get hurt.

During last night’s Hurricanes’ 5-2 win in Game Two over the Bruins, Andrei Svechnikov delivered a ferocious hit on defenseman Hampus Lindholm. It occurred in the second period with the Canes in control leading 3-1.

Patrice Bergeron had gotten the Bruins on the board with a power play goal a couple of minutes earlier. However, during a play behind his net, a prone Lindholm went to make an outlet pass. A driving Svechnikov caught him flush at a high speed to send the Boston defenseman flying to the ice.

The heavy hit drew an immediate response from the Bruins. It was Brandon Carlo who went after Svechnikov with 2:49 remaining in the second. Since he jumped him, Carlo received an extra two minutes for roughing. Svechnikov got only two.

That double minor proved costly. After Pyotr Kochetkov and Brad Marchand exchanged slashes for offsetting minors, Nino Niederreiter was able to put in a loose puck over the goal line for a power play goal set up by Vincent Trocheck and Tony DeAngelo.

That restored a three-goal lead before the second period concluded. Although Bergeron got his second in the third to make things interesting, a Niederreiter empty netter from Svechnikov sealed the victory for Carolina. They lead the series two games to none.

Following the game, there was plenty of discussion on the Svechnikov hit that injured Lindholm. He looked wobbly being helped off the ice. The latest update is he won’t be available for Game Three when the series shifts to Boston. A tough loss for the Bruins.

A closer look at the Svechnikov hit which looked worse in real speed, shows that he went shoulder to chest catching Lindholm flush. It looked high due to the positioning of Lindholm, whose head was down. However, there was no head contact on the play.

After the game, Svechnikov showed concern for Lindholm. The skilled 30-goal scorer, who is one of the Canes’ best players, is known for delivering big hits. Along with his 69 points which ranked second in team scoring behind Sebastian Aho, his 189 hits placed second behind captain Jordan Staal (212).

Only 22, the former Hurricanes’ 2018 first round pick who went second, is on the cusp of stardom. He’s not a one-dimensional player. The 30 goals, 39 assists and 69 points are all career highs in his fourth season. Only Aho had more goals (37) and points (81).

Hits like the one Svechnikov delivered on Lindholm are part of the playoffs. On Tuesday, we saw Rangers’ defenseman Ryan Lindgren level Rickard Rakell with a ferocious check that knocked him out of Game One against the Penguins.

Originally called a major penalty, refs Frederick L’Ecuyer and Tom Chmielewski and Chris Lee reviewed the play and reduced the major to a minor penalty for roughing. The heavy hit took place with 1:19 remaining in the first period.

Having looked at it again, I believe it was charging. Not roughing. Lindgren’s feet push up as he delivers the check to Rakell. The principle point of contact is the chest. Not the head as some have contended.

You can see his feet moving upwards. The elbow is tucked in. Having even originally thought the Lindgren hit might’ve been clean, I can no longer conclude that. It’s a charge. Sam Rosen correctly asserted it during the telecast on MSG Network. Not sure how they came up with roughing.

If we were to compare this hit to the one Svechnikov laid on Lindholm, I’d say the Lindgren hit that injured Rakell is worse because he left his feet. So, I now see why it’s a penalty. Rakell isn’t playing tonight. I doubt we’ll see him when the series shifts to Pittsburgh.

The Svechnikov hit was clean. As hard as it was, he never leaves his feet and drives the shoulder into chest of Lindholm. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt on the play. I hope it’s not a concussion.

Nobody wants to see injuries in the playoffs. But with how fast the game is and how hard the games are played, it’s going to happen. Ironically, Lindgren re-injured himself on another hit later in Game One. He has been battling a lower-body injury.

He missed most of the third period. After playing in the first two overtimes, Lindgren didn’t return for triple overtime. A sixth period the Rangers got dominated in. The Pens won the game on a Evgeni Malkin goal directly in front of Igor Shesterkin with neither Braden Schneider or Patrik Nemeth on him.

While we know Rakell and Casey DeSmith won’t be available for the Pens, Lindgren is probable. If he plays as Gerard Gallant hinted, it’ll be interesting to see how he is used. Will he hold up?

Game Two is once again a 7 PM start. Opening face-off around 7:08. The Rangers look to even the best-of-seven series before it shifts to the Steel City.

I’ll have more on the big game later tonight. Follow me on BattleOfHudson over on Twitter for game observations and the game’s Three Stars.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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