Panthers' Sam Bennett suspended 1 game for boarding Lightning's Blake Coleman

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The Florida Panthers will be without a key contributor as they look to even their first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning after a heartbreaking loss in Game 1.

The NHL's department of player safety announced Monday that forward Sam Bennett has been suspended one game for boarding Lightning forward Blake Coleman.

SUNRISE, FL - MAY 16: Sam Bennett #9 of the Florida Panthers passes the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the BB&T Center on May 16, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Panrthers will be without Sam Bennet for Game 2 against the Lightning. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bennett's clear and heavy hit from behind on the Lightning agitator came late in the third period. Bennett was flagged with a two-minute minor in the moment, which the Lightning used to kickstart their comeback with the first of two late goals from Brayden Point.

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It's possible that this was a retaliatory act, as Coleman had just rocked Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov with a sharp open-ice hit. 

Either way, it's a clear and dangerous hit, but perhaps not overly more egregious, or dangerous, when compared to Ryan McDonagh's blow on Anthony Duclair earlier in the game. 

This one went unpunished by George Parros and the department of player safety.

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There will certainly be more borderline hits thrown in clearly the nastiest series of the first round based on the early returns. 

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