"Violent, deliberate," is how Rangers coach Alain Vigneault described Dustin Byfuglien's cross-check to a prone J.T. Miller. "Could have broken his neck. It was one of the most vicious cross-checks I've seen this year."
Vigneault wasn't exaggerating:
That's really, really bad, and completely unnecessary. (The officials missed it; Byfuglien wasn't penalized on the play.)
It's somewhat remarkable that the big, physical Byfuglien has never been suspended in his 10-year career, but expect that to change—especially because the NHL Department of Player Safety has already confirmed it's examining the hit from last night's game, a 3-2 Rangers win in Winnipeg.
Byfuglien's defense is going to be that he was off-balance, and falling, and didn't mean to get Miller with such force or right below his helmet. That defense gets weaker each time you watch the replay. The Jets, sitting precariously in the West's second and final wild-card slot, have five games remaining. Five sounds about right.
Puck, however, most certainly does not lie. It was Miller's tape-to-tape laser that got Byfuglien turned around, and put Chris Kreider in position to score the winner late in the third.