Morrissey caught Staal up high with his stick late in the first period of Winnipeg’s Game 4 victory over the Wild on Tuesday night. Staal went down to the ice immediately in pain. Staal was slow to get to his skates and gingerly made his way to the bench as the play continued.
The Wild were on a power play at the time and Morrissey’s cross-check went unnoticed by the referees. Moments later, the 23-year-old blueliner earned an assist on a Mark Scheifele goal that ended up being the game-winner.
“It cost us the game,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters following the game. “My take is, it’s the same take that everybody in the building saw it as the refs looked at it and they decided not to call it because we were already on the power play.”
Staal was able to return to the game but was baffled as to how there was no call on the ice.
“I’m the tallest guy on the ice. He cross-checked me in the neck. There’s not much more you can say,” Staal said. “Everyone saw it. I don’t know how no one with stripes saw it, but that’s besides itself. It is what it is.”
Jets head coach Paul Maurice came to the defence of his player after his team took a commanding 3-1 series lead.
“[Morrissey] is about as clean a player as we have on our hockey club all year,” Maurice said. “He certainly wasn’t looking to send a message or anything like that. It was a missed call.”
Game 5 takes place Friday as the series returns to Winnipeg. The winner of this series will go on to face either Nashville or Colorado in the second round.