In a game that already featured several moments of extracurricular skirmishes after the whistle, Blackhawks defenseman was issued a five-minute major and a match penalty for his hit to the head of Tampa defenseman Erik Cernak.
The collision came during the second period, when Cernak wrapped around behind the Blackhawks and Murphy was waiting for him on the other side.
Here’s a GIF version of the hit:
Connor Murphy received a match penalty at 9:27 of the second period for an illegal hit to the head against Erik Cernak, who left the game. #Blackhawks #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/a4Ji2Ihid1— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 7, 2021
And here’s a slow-motion video version:
The hit on Cernak that got Murphy ejected pic.twitter.com/ji5sWYcLOu— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) March 7, 2021
The initial call was for a five-minute major. After review, that call was confirmed and Murphy was ejected from the game. Cernak was slow to get up after the hit and headed immediately to the locker room after skating off under his own power. During the second intermission, Tampa announced that Cernak would not return for the third period.
The Lightning announce Erik Cernak will not return to the game after he sustained an upper-body injury from Connor Murphy's illegal hit to the head. #Blackhawks #GoBolts— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 7, 2021
With the Blackhawks skating seven defensemen in the game, Murphy’s ejection left Chicago with six defenseman for the final 30 minutes.
The five-minute major didn’t result in any goals for Tampa, with the Blackhawks delivering a clutch penalty kill in a vital moment during a 3-3 tie. Ryan Carpenter drew a Tampa penalty with 2:13 to go on the penalty, effectively nullifying the rest of the Lightning’s man advantage.
It was the third game in four days between the two teams but by far the most contentious moment of the brief series.