PITTSBURGH – The NHL has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal five games for kneeing Boston forward Brad Marchand during Boston’s 3-2 win on Saturday night.
Marchand had fallen to the ice in the second period while trying to pass when Neal skated toward Marchand.
Neal’s left knee connected with the side of Marchand’s head as Marchand tried to get up. Neal received a 2-minute penalty for kneeing, but was allowed to return to the game.
NHL vice president of player safety and hockey operations Brendan Shanahan said Monday that Neal moved to ensure contact with Marchand.
Neal, who has 10 goals in 16 games this season, has been fined once and suspended twice during his career. He missed Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2012 against Philadelphia for “reckless” hits against two Flyers.