Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn was suspended two games Wednesday following his cross-check against fellow captain Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.
Benn was ejected less than two minutes into the Stars' 4-0 loss at home in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. Dallas now trails 3-0 and will be without Benn for Thursday's elimination game.
Benn checked Stone near mid-ice, and as Benn fell on top of Stone, he delivered a cross-check high up Stone's body at the 1:53 mark. The referees assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
"It's important to note that Benn is in control of this play at all times and makes the decision to deliver a forceful cross-check to a prone player," the NHL said in its ruling Wednesday afternoon. "This is simply an unnecessary decision by Benn and it is delivered with sufficient intent and force to merit supplemental discipline."
Benn will miss the team's first regular season game in 2023-24 if the Stars are eliminated in Game 4.
Benn, 33, has three goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games this year, including a goal in Game 1 against Vegas.
Stars coach Peter DeBoer said Benn "made a mistake" on the play and the team will "live with the consequences."
"I don't think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it. I'm not going to pile on him," DeBoer said. "He's been a leader here for his entire career and leads by example every day on and off the ice. He made a mistake. Fortunately, Mark Stone's OK."
The NHL also fined Stars forward Max Domi $5,000 on Wednesday for a slashing penalty against Stone at 18:09 of the third period.
Domi wasn't penalized on that play but he was involved in an earlier mess at the end of the second period when he hit Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague from behind, then threw a couple of punches at Hague. Domi was assessed cross-checking and roughing minors plus a 10-minute misconduct penalty.
After those calls against Domi, frustrated fans littered the ice with plastic bottles and other trash. Vegas goaltender Adin Hill was hit with a bag of popcorn as he walked out following the second intermission.
The Stars issued a statement Wednesday morning apologizing for the unruly behavior by the spectators.
"On behalf of the Dallas Stars organization, I would like to apologize to the Vegas Golden Knights and the National Hockey League for the actions of a few of our spectators at last night's game. Their actions were unacceptable and put the safety of the players and fans at risk," said Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts.
"We take pride in providing the best experience for everyone who enters our arena. The actions of these individuals certainly do not reflect our great city, organization and loyal fan base."
--Field Level Media