Benn suspended 2 games for cross-checking Stone in head
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was suspended two games for cross-checking Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone in the head in Game 3, the league announced Wednesday.
The Stars trail the Golden Knights 3-0 in the Western Conference Final. If Vegas closes out the series on Thursday, Benn will be suspended for the season opener in 2023-24.
The incident occurred at the 1:53 mark of the first period, so Benn will be punished nearly three full games.
Benn chose not to speak with the media following the Game 3 loss, but he addressed the incident Wednesday and declined to take full responsibility for his actions.
"Just an unfortunate play," he said, per the Las Vegas Sun's Danny Webster. "I just need to be more responsible with my body and stick. I put my team in a tough situation."
He added: "The game happens fast, emotions are high. Obviously, I would have liked to not fall on him and use my stick as a landing point."
Vegas, already leading 1-0 at the time, scored on the ensuing five-minute power play to double its lead. The Golden Knights added another moments later, taking a 3-0 lead in the contest by the 7:10 mark of the first period. They held on for a 4-0 victory.
Stone was able to stay in the game, but he wasn't thrilled about the play.
"I didn't love what transpired, but it got handled the right way," he said Wednesday before the suspension ruling came down. "We stuck together as a team, and now our focus is on Game 4."
This marks the first suspension of Benn's 14-year NHL career.
Fellow Stars forward Evgenii Dadonov is doubtful for Game 4 with a lower-body injury, so Dallas may have to insert two new bodies into the lineup for the do-or-die tilt. Luke Glendening and Fredrik Olofsson are the most likely forward candidates to re-enter the fold, although it's possible the Stars go 11-7 and dress Colin Miller or Nils Lundkvist on defense.