Columbus Blue Jackets centreman Alexander Wennberg was forced out his club’s first game of the 2018 post-season, suffering an upper-body injury during Thursday’s tilt with the Washington Capitals.
An unsuspecting Wennberg was nailed with a heavy check from Washington’s Tom Wilson early in the third period of Game 1. The Blue Jackets centre looked to be trying to manage pressure from Alex Ovechkin before Wilson connected with a blindside check, Wennberg’s head seeming to be the primary point of contact.
Wennberg stayed down in considerable discomfort before leaving the ice. Soon after, it was announced he wouldn’t return to the game. Wilson was handed a charging minor as a result of the play.
In what was a particularly rough opening tilt for the two clubs’ Eastern Conference series, both sides saw big-bodied forwards deliver some questionable physicality. Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson was ejected late in the first period for boarding Washington’s Michal Kempny, racking up 15 minutes of penalties on the night. Kempny similarly didn’t return to the contest.
One of Columbus’ top pivots, Wennberg took a step back in 2016-17, playing only 66 games for the Blue Jackets and amassing 35 points over that span. He tallied his team’s first goal of the post-season during the second period of Game 1, burying a tap-in after a feed from Boone Jenner before exiting with injury.
Columbus eventually took the opening game in overtime, opening up a 1-0 series lead against Washington.