Following being hit in the final minute of Wednesday’s victory over Winnipeg, the Canadiens announced on Thursday that Jake Evans has indeed suffered a concussion and is listed as out indefinitely.
The hit occurred on Evans’ empty-net goal (his first career playoff tally). As he was wrapping the puck around the back of the net to put it in, Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele levelled a significant high check shortly after the goal was scored with plenty of speed built up from racing down from his own end. He was assessed a major and a game misconduct on the play but not a match penalty, suggesting that the on-ice officials did not immediately feel that the hit was worthy of supplemental discipline.
However, the league has opted to take a closer look at it as Scheifele had have a phone hearing with the Department of Player Safety today, meaning that any suspension couldn’t be longer than five games. It wound up being close to the maximum as it was announced late Thursday that Scheifele received a four-game suspension.
Evans was not taken to the hospital following the game which is certainly a promising sign, especially since he has a history of significant head injuries. He will remain under observation of Montreal’s team doctors for the time being.
In the meantime, head coach Dominique Ducharme didn’t indicate how he’s planning to replace Evans for the second game of the series on Friday other than that it’s unlikely they will go with seven defencemen. Artturi Lehkonen, who has been out since being injured in Game 3 against Toronto, is available to return while Tomas Tatar, the usual linemate for Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher during the regular season, could draw back in and allow the rest of the lines to remain intact.