Kirill Kaprizov had a busy night as Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild went to second over time. Kaprizov scored the game’s first goal when he tipped a shot from Jared Spurgeon into the back of the net.
Kaprizov scored 40 goals and 75 points in 67 games during the regular season, and the Wild knows that he has to perform if they’re to make it far in the playoffs. And the Dallas Stars also know it.
In Game 1, Kaprizov was involved in several controversial incidents, as Stars players played hard and sometimes even dirty. It looked like they had hopes of getting Kaprizov off the game, and some of the cheap shots against him were really nasty.
At one time, Kaprizov was skating in the offensive zone with the puck nowhere near him. Ryan Suter skated beside him and delivered a cross-checking right at Kaprizov’s back, making him fall to the ice.
The referees didn’t call Suter for a penalty, and later in the game, the Stars’ veteran defenseman was at it again. And just like last time, he took aim at Kaprizov.
Kaprizov was battling in front of the net when Suter cross-checked him hard right at his numbers. Kaprizov fell to the ice, and Suter again got away without being penalized.
On social media, fans and insiders were absolutely furious. Dan Myers, a former writer for the Wild and NHL.com, had this to say about Ryan Suter:
”Was told once by a former NHL General Manager that Ryan Suter is one of the dirtiest players in the league … but he’s not known as that because he does his business behind the play.”
The Athletic’s Michael Russo also claimed that the NHL needs to do more to protect its star players, like Kirill Kaprizov.
”Just amazing that NHL referees allow superstars to get viciously abused like this,” he said on Twitter.
Jeff Veillette, with more than 30,000 followers on Twitter, said this:
”One thing that’s been talked about for several years, especially around playoff time, is cutting down on cross checking. Every year we hear it’ll happen. Every year it doesn’t happen. Ryan Suter’s taking advantage of that with Kirill Kaprizov tonight.”