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Arizona Forward Jason Zucker Gets 3 Games for Hit on Nick Cousins

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Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins, left, is in concussion protocol after being boarded by Arizona’s Jason Zucker during the second period on Tuesday night. Zucker was suspended three games by the NHL. // Screencap courtesy @BallyPanthers

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Arizona forward Jason Zucker three games for his hit on Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins during the second period of Tuesday’s game.

Cousins left the game after being hit up against the glass and did not return.

He also did not practice on Wednesday in Las Vegas with coach Paul Maurice saying he would be out on Thursday against the Golden Knights.

On the play, Zucker came over after Cousins had hit Arizona’s Juuso Valimaki while on one knee.

As Cousins stood there near the glass, he was hit in the back by a hard-charging Zucker.

Zucker was given a 5-minute major for boarding as well as a 10-minute misconduct. He also received 5 minutes for fighting after Florida defenseman Gus Forsling jumped to Cousins’ defense.

According to the video explanation sent out by the Department of Player Safety, Zucker was penalized for delivering a “check to the defenseless Cousins, driving him dangerously into the boards and causing an injury.’’

The video explanation goes on to say this was not a case where Cousins turned or made a sudden movement making Zucker’s hit look worse than what was intended — or that Cousins saw it coming and failed to defend himself.

It also notes that while Zucker claims the hit was “not done in retribution, this is a hit from behind on a defenseless player who is no longer in possession of the puck.”

Zucker will forfeit $82,812.51; the money will go into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

This is Zucker’s first suspension.

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

  • When: Thursday, 10 p.m.
  • Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
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  • Season Series (Panthers Lead 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 4, Knights 2 (Dec. 23). At Vegas: Thursday.
  • Last Regular Season: Even 1-1
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Golden Knights lead 6-4-1
  • Postseason History — 2023 Stanley Cup Final: Vegas d. Florida 4-1
  • Up Next for the Florida Panthers: Saturday at Colorado, 4 p.m.

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