Stars uncertain about Joe Pavelski after hard hit by Wild

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Dallas Stars' Joe Pavelski, second from right, is helped off the ice by Mason Marchment and staff after suffering an unknown injury in the second period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, Monday, April 17, 2023, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

DALLAS – Dallas center Joe Pavelski left the Stars' loss in their playoff opener after taking a massive hit from Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba, who wasn't assessed a major penalty for that after a lengthy replay review by officials Monday night.

Dumba did get a two-minute minor for roughing, though the referees had initially announced a five-minute major penalty after the play midway through the second period of the game that the Wild won 3-2 in double overtime.

“To be honest, I thought it was a clean hit. I figured (the refs) were going to see the same. Shoulder on shoulder,” Dumba said. “I don’t even know why I got the roughing, probably because I was just in the box already.”

Pavelski appeared wobbly as he was helped off the ice. Coach Pete DeBoer, who said after the game that he hadn't yet looked at the play in depth, said the 38-year-old center hit his head on the ice when he fell.

“We have the best officials in the world. They called a five, they reviewed it, which is the right thing to do. If they reviewed and decided it wasn’t a bad hit then, you know, I guess it’s not for me to argue with that,” DeBoer said. “They got to look at it at multiple different angles and that was the decision they made, so we’ve got to live with that.”

DeBoer said he wasn't confident about Pavelski being available for Game 2 on Wednesday night.

A play involving Pavelski in the 2019 playoffs helped lead the NHL to expand its video review process to allow officials to review major penalties to determine whether the call was accurate. That change gave referees the option to reduce a major penalty to a minor, as happened with Dumba's hit Monday night.

Had that expanded process been in use in 2019, it could have potentially changed the complexion of Game 7 in a first-round series between Vegas and San Jose after Pavelski, then with the Sharks with DeBoer as his coach there, took a hit from Cody Eakin.

The Golden Knights were leading 3-0 when Eakin was assessed a major penalty for that hit, which the league later told Vegas was not the right call. The Sharks scored four times on the ensuing major penalty and won 5-4 in overtime.

While Pavleski remained down on the ice Monday night, Stars teammate Max Domi went after Dumba and threw a couple of hard punches before they ended up in a pile on the ice, with referees and Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov also on top of them. Kaprizov was eventually pulled back by a teammate.

Domi was given a 10-minute misconduct.

“I didn’t really see the actual hit real time, just saw Joe lying there,” Domi said.

Asked about Dumba's penalty being reduced from a five-minute major to a minor, Domi responded, “I trust that they’re going to make the right call. So whatever they saw, they saw and made the review. ... It’s part of the game.”


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