The Florida Panthers will continue to have Sam Bennett in their lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs following a cross-check to the neck of Michael Bunting in the second period on Thursday night.
On Friday morning, the NHL Player Safety department handed down a $5,000 fine to Bennett.
He is the second Florida player to be slapped with a fine this postseason; Matthew Tkachuk also got the maximum $5,000 for cross-checking Boston’s Garnet Hathaway in the ribs during Game 4.
Bennett’s cross-check came with 5 minutes left in the second period of Florida’s 3-2 win in Game 2 as he and Bunting were battling for position in front of the net.
Bennett hit Bunting in the neck with the Toronto forward dropping to the ice. Bennett then hit him again.
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe compared it to Torontos’s Auston Matthews going after Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin last season.
Matthews got hit with a two-game suspension.
The Panthers play host to the Maple Leafs in Game 3 on Sunday at 6:30.
Florida holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 3 (Panthers Lead 2-0)
- When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV: TBS
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: Florida 4, @Toronto 2; Game 2: Florida 3, @Toronto 2; Game 3: Sunday at Florida, 6:30 (TBS); Game 4: Wednesday at Florida, 7 (ESPN); Game 5*:Friday, May 12 at Toronto (TNT); Game 6*: Sunday, May 14 at Florida (TBA); Game 7*:May 16 at Toronto (TNT). (*) – If Necessary
- How They Got Here: Toronto d. Tampa Bay 4-2; Florida d. Boston 4-3
- Season Series (Toronto won 3-1): Maple Leafs 5, @Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); @Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23); Panthers 3, @Maple Leafs 2 OT (March 29); Maple Leafs 2, @Panthers 1 OT (April 10)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 48-36-7, 7 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting