The star rookie was driven into the ice early in the third period after being taken into the boards by Panthers defenceman Michael Matheson. The 19-year-old Swede appeared woozy and had to be assisted to the locker room.
“It’s a dirty play,” Canucks head coach Travis Green told reporters after the game. “The league’s trying to protect the good, young players and that’s just a dirty play.”
Canucks forward Sven Baertschi said what Matheson did “looked like WWE.”
Matheson went unpenalized and wasn’t confronted by any member of the Canucks on the play.
“We won the game. I’m not going to comment on retribution or anything like that,” Green said. “It was a play that was far away [from the puck].”
Heading into the season, Pettersson was the odds-on favourite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year and his first five games have shown why. The fifth-overall pick from 2017 already has five goals and eight points and prior to his injury he tied a Canucks franchise record for most consecutive games with a point to start a career.
Green added that he’s aware Pettersson could be targeted.
“All the good players are,” he said. “That’s hockey.”
Vancouver also lost forward Jay Beagle after he blocked a slap shot with his arm.
The Canucks are two-thirds of the way through a six-game road trip. They travel to Pittsburgh for a Tuesday contest against the Penguins, then visit the Jets Thursday before returning home to host the Bruins next Saturday.