Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba has been suspended two games by the NHL for his hit on Lars Eller in Thursday's win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the two teams' Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, according to TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie (via Twitter).
Eller was hit by Gryba in the second period of Thursday's game and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, leaving behind a bloody scene. He was released from the hospital on Friday, according to the team via ESPN.com.
I stepped up to make a hit. I kept my shoulder down. He received the puck by the time I hit him. My elbow was down and there was no intent to hurt him whatsoever and I hope that he's OK. I'm not out here to hurt anybody and it's never good seeing anything like that. I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.
The 23-year-old center suffered a concussion along with facial fractures from the devastating hit. Obviously, Eller won't be available to play for the Canadiens in Game 2, which is a notable loss considering that the fourth-year player had poured in eight goals and dished out 22 assists this season for Montreal, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Thursday's game was tied at 1-1 before Gryba's hit. The Senators outscored the Canadiens 3-1 over the final 26 minutes, winning 4-2 to steal home-ice advantage away from Montreal.
The 25-year-old Gryba spent just over eight minutes on the ice before he was assessed a game misconduct penalty and sent off following the hit to Eller. His two-game suspension would keep him out of Friday's Game 2 in Montreal and Game 3 Sunday night in Ottawa.
Game 2 between the Senators and Canadiens is scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.
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