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Florida Panthers Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov Suspended



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Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov was suspended two games for his hit on Conor Sheary. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov was suspended two games for an illegal check to the head delivered to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Conor Sheary.

In a 5-3 loss on Saturday night, Kulikov delivered a check to the head of Sheary seconds before Josh Mahura picked the puck up and scored.

Kulikov will miss Florida’s games Thursday against Nashville and Saturday’s nationally-televised game against the New York Rangers.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Kulikov will forfeit $10,416.66 in salary.

The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Kulikov was initially given a match penalty for the hit; Mahura’s goal was taken off the board upon review of the play.

Per the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, Kulikov “saw Sheary in a vulnerable position” and “ignored the puck entirely” before he “leaned into the head and made it the main point of contact on a hit where such contact was avoidable.”

Kulikov was last suspended during the 2014-15 season in his first tour with the Panthers, getting four games for a hit on Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars which resulted in a knee injury.

Monday, Florida coach Paul Maurice said newly-acquired defenseman Rudy Bjornfot could make his debut with the Panthers on Thursday.

Bjornfot was picked up off waivers on March 8 just before the NHL Trade Deadline from Vegas.

Florida currently has six healthy — and non-suspended — defensemen on the roster with Aaron Ekblad out with injury.

Ekblad skated prior to Florida’s practice Monday.

The Panthers could recall a defenseman such as Uvis Balinskis from AHL Charlotte prior to Thursday.

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  • When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise 
  • Streaming ONLY: ESPN+, Hulu
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Nashville: Panthers 4, Predators 1 (Jan. 22). At Florida: Thursday.
  • Last Season: Nashville won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 22-14-6, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday, March 23 at New York Rangers, 8 p.m. (ABC)

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