The Montreal Canadiens lost a depth forward early in their game Thursday vs. the Colorado Avalanche when Jesperi Kotkaniemi fell awkwardly to the ice.
After shuffling a backhand pass low in the attacking zone, the 19-year-old center was checked by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov. The hit caused Kotkaniemi to flip. Unable to brace himself, he landed on his head, neck and shoulders. There was speculation Zadorov swept Kotkaniemi’s feet out from under him, but a review of the video showed little to no evidence of that.
A referee blew play dead shortly after the fall as Kotkaniemi stayed down on the ice. Kotkaniemi was assisted to the bench and down the tunnel into the locker room.
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The Canadiens later announced Kotkaniemi had suffered an upper-body injury and would not return.
TVA Sport’s Renaud Lavoie reported that Kotkaniemi underwent more tests at a hospital but added that it is a “normal procedure.”
Kotkaniemi, the third overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has three goals and two assists in 22 games this season, including Thursday’s contest.