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Lucic booted for bad hit in 4-2 Flames loss, could he be suspended?

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Calgary Flames Milan Lucic Dylan DeMelo

Milan Lucic has had a strong physical presence for the Calgary Flames this season. But the team may not have his presence at all following a bad boarding penalty on Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo in the second period Saturday night.

At 6-ft.-3 and 230 lb., Lucic has about three inches and 40 pounds on DeMelo. The Flames winger put the body to DeMelo in the corner, driving the Jets defender’s face into the boards and drawing blood. The refs huddled and decided the boarding penalty was worth five and a game, tossing Lucic.

The big winger was not happy about the call, and seemed to be pleading his case by saying DeMelo turned as the check was coming.

The Flames took a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes but saw the Jets climb back. The visitors got a goal late in the first and another early in the second frame. It was 2-2 at the time of the hit.

With his second goal of the game coming late in the third period, Kyle Connor was the difference for the Jets in the 4-2 win. Andrew Copp added an empty netter.

Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm scored for the Flames in the first period. Johnny Gaudreau earned assists on both goals.

Lucic has three NHL suspensions

Lucic got a two-game suspension with the Calgary Flames in 2019 for punching the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Kole Sherwood. Lucic was also suspended in 2016 for an similar incident, this time socking Arizona Coyotes defenceman Kevin Connauton.

The closest comparison to the DeMelo hit was Lucic’s first suspension as a member of the Boston Bruins. Lucic lined up Zac Rinaldo and smacked him into the glass in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Brought in for his physical style, playoff experience and leadership in the locker-room, Lucic has been praised for his selflessness this season. With five goals in his first 20 games this season, he’s off to a pretty good start offensively, too. He may not reach 20 goals this year, but Lucic has been a big part of the team’s secondary scoring.

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