Penguins' Letang suspended for one game for late hit


Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been handed a one-game suspension for his late, high hit on Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson.

The turbulent second-round Stanley Cup play-off series has kept the NHL's disciplinary arms busy.

Letang, Pittsburgh's top defenseman, became the third player to be punished since the series began, with the league announcing his suspension for a late, high hit on Johansson in Monday's game three.

It was a penalty that seemed inevitable after Washington's Brooks Orpik was suspended for three games for similar on Olli Maatta in game two.

Capitals forward Tom Wilson also was fined a maximum $2,403.67 for a knee-to-knee hit on Pittsburgh's Conor Sheary in the series opener.

In Letang's incident, he lowered his shoulder into the head of Johansson during the first period on Monday.

Johansson, who did not have the puck, lay on the ice for several moments and left the game for a period of time before returning to skate 18 minutes, 20 seconds in the 3-2 Penguins win.

Letang was assessed a minor interference penalty on the play.

Johansson said after the game he was evaluated for a concussion and had "some issues with his neck".

He was held out of Tuesday's practice with what the team called an "upper-body" injury, delaying any status update for game four until he can be reevaluated Wednesday.

Letang, averaging more than 25 minutes per game these play-offs, is the most significant player suspended thus far and might be Pittsburgh's most essential asset.

The Penguins were 2-8-1 this season without Letang, so his absence looms large, if only for one game.

Fortunately for the Penguins, they lead the series 2-1 and 21-year-old goaltender Matt Murray is playing out of his mind.