June 17, 2019

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Lowry to miss two games for hitting Forsberg with stick

Adam Lowry</p>

Adam Lowry

COLUMBUS – The Winnipeg Jets will be without shutdown centre Adam Lowry as they kick off an important four-game eastern road trip Sunday night in Columbus.

Lowry, 25, has been suspended two games for a reckless high-stick of Nashville’s Filip Forsberg in Friday night’s 5-3 win at Bell MTS Place. He will miss the contest with the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s tilt against league-leading Tampa Bay and is eligible to return Friday night in Carolina.

Lowry had just absorbed a hit from Forsberg when he swung his stick towards the Predators winger, hitting him in the face. Forsberg was shaken up but not seriously injured. Lowry was given a two-minute penalty on the play, then called on the carpet Saturday by the NHL’s department of player safety announced Saturday.

“While we understand Lowry’s contention that he did not intent to strike Forsberg in the face on this play, it is important to note that this is not a situation where a player simply loses control of his stick, or one where an off-balance player flails to try to steady himself. This is a reckless stick swing that strikes an opponent at a dangerous height. No matter where he intends the blow to land, Lowry must be in control and responsible for his stick,” the NHL said in the suspension video.

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COLUMBUS – The Winnipeg Jets will be without shutdown centre Adam Lowry as they kick off an important four-game eastern road trip Sunday night in Columbus.

Lowry, 25, has been suspended two games for a reckless high-stick of Nashville’s Filip Forsberg in Friday night’s 5-3 win at Bell MTS Place. He will miss the contest with the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s tilt against league-leading Tampa Bay and is eligible to return Friday night in Carolina.

Lowry had just absorbed a hit from Forsberg when he swung his stick towards the Predators winger, hitting him in the face. Forsberg was shaken up but not seriously injured. Lowry was given a two-minute penalty on the play, then called on the carpet Saturday by the NHL’s department of player safety announced Saturday.

"While we understand Lowry’s contention that he did not intent to strike Forsberg in the face on this play, it is important to note that this is not a situation where a player simply loses control of his stick, or one where an off-balance player flails to try to steady himself. This is a reckless stick swing that strikes an opponent at a dangerous height. No matter where he intends the blow to land, Lowry must be in control and responsible for his stick," the NHL said in the suspension video.

Lowry has eight goals and nine assists in 62 games this season. He will forfeit $31,362 in salary as a result of the ban. Lowry was previously suspended for one game in 2014 for a hit from behind on Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta.

Lowry joins injured defencemen Dustin Byfuglien, Josh Morrissey and Joe Morrow as other pieces currently out of the lineup. As well, the status of No. 1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck for Sunday isn't clear after he missed Friday's game with the flu. 

The Jets had an off-day Saturday as they flew to Columbus. Lowry’s suspension will trigger other moves, including Bryan Little likely moving back to centre for the next two games. Little was on the wing with Lowry and Brandon Tanev in Friday night’s win.

As well, one of Matt Hendricks or Par Lindholm will draw into the lineup to fill Lowry’s void. Both were obtained last Monday at the trade deadline but have been healthy scratches in the two games since.

Winnipeg is currently 1-1-0 in a stretch of nine straight games against teams holding down a playoff spot as of Saturday. The Jets are coming off one of the more complete efforts of the season in Friday's win. Winnipeg fell behind 2-0 late in the second period, then rallied for victory. They lead the Central Division by one point over Nashville, although they have three games in hand on the Predators.

"Really important because we liked the way that we were playing and it went against us a bit but we didn’t change the way we were playing. It was a fun game to be a part of. The bench was wired right and everybody was pulling and into the game. Really important. What would I be selling if it didn’t go our way? I would be telling you that I liked the way that we played and if we keep playing like that. We like that we’re moving forward and it’s great to get a win on that and have everybody (have) a piece of it," coach Paul Maurice said following the game.

"It’s good that they got properly rewarded for it."

The road ahead doesn't get any easier. Columbus should be a desperate team after they lost 4-0 on home ice Saturday afternoon to the Edmonton Oilers. They began the day tied with Pittsburgh for the final Eastern Conference wildcard playoff spot. Making the post-season is a must for a team which held on to pending UFA's Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin at the trade deadline, then added three more UFA's in Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Adam McQuaid while trading away numerous draft picks and prospects in an attempt to go "all-in" this season.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

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